Skip to main content

Full text of "The adventures of Oliver Twist"

See other formats


DICKENS. 



THE ADVENTURES 



OF 




BY 



CHARLES DICKENS. 




WITH TWENTY-EIGHT ILLUSTRATIONS BY J. MAHONEY. 



NEW YORK: 

HARPER & BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS, 

FRANKLIN SQUARE. 
1872. 



PREFACE. 



ONCE upon a time it was held to be a coarse and shocking circumstance, that some of the characters 
in these pages are chosen from the most criminal and degraded of London's population. 

As I saw no reason, when I wrote this book, why the dregs of life (so long as their speech did not 
offend the ear) should not serve the purpose of a moral, as well as its froth and cream, I made bold to 
believe that this same Once upon a time would not prove to be All-time or even a long time. I saw 
many strong reasons for pursuing my course. I had read of thieves by scores ; seductive fellows (amia 
ble for the most part), faultless in dress, plump in pocket, choice in horse-flesh, bold in bearing, fortunate 
in gallantry, great at a song, a bottle, pack of cards or dice-box, and fit companions for the bravest. But 
I had never met (except in HOGARTH) with the miserable reality. It appeared to me that to draw a 
knot of such associates in crime as really did exist ; to paint them in all their deformity, in all their 
wretchedness, in all the squalid misery of their lives ; to show them as they really were, forever skulking 
uneasily through the dirtiest paths of life, with the great black ghastly gallows closing up their prospect, 
turn them where they might ; it appeared to me that to do this would be to attempt a something which 
was needed, and which would be a service to society. And I did it as I best could. 

In every book I know, where such characters are treated of, allurements and fascinations are thrown 
around them. Even in the Beggars' Opera, the thieves are represented as leading a life which is rather 
to be envied than otherwise : while MACHEATH, with all the captivations of command, and the devotion 
of the most beautiful girl and only pure character in the piece, is as much to be admired and emulated 
by weak beholders, as any fine gentleman in a red coat who has purchased, as VOLTAIRE says, the right 
to command a couple of thousand men, or so, and to affront death at their head. Johnson's question, 
whether any man will turn thief because Macheath is reprieved, seems to me beside the matter. I ask 
myself, whether any man will be deterred from turning thief because of Macheath's being sentenced to 
death, and because of the existence of Peachum and Lockit ; and remembering the captain's roaring life, 
great appearance, vast success, and strong advantages, I feel assured that nobody having a bent that way 
will take any warning from him, or will see any thing in the play but a flowery and pleasant road, con 
ducting an honorable ambition in course of time to Tyburn Tree. 

In fact, Gay's witty satire on society had a general object, which made him quite regardless of example 
in this respect, and gave him other and wider aims. The same may be said of Sir Edward Bulwer's 
admirable and powerful novel of Paul Clifford, which can not be fairly considered as having, or as being 
intended to have, any bearing on this part of the subject, one way or other. 

What manner of life is that which is described in these pages, as the every-day existence of a Thief? 
What charms has it for the young and ill-disposed, what allurements for the most jolter-headed of juve 
niles ? Here are no canterings on moonlit heaths, no merry-makings in the snuggest of all possible cav 
erns, none of the attractions of dress, no embroidery, no lace, no jack-boots, no crimson coats and ruffles, 
none of the dash and freedom with which " the road " has been time out of mind invested. The cold, 
wet, shelterless midnight streets of London ; the foul and frowzy dens, where vice is closely packed and 
lacks the room to turn ; the haunts of hunger and disease ; the shabby rags that scarcely hold together ; 
where are the attractions of these things ? 

There are people, however, of so refined and delicate a nature, that they can not bear the contemplation 
of such horrors. Not that they turn instinctively from crime ; but that criminal characters, to suit them, 
must be, like their meat, in delicate disguise. A Massaroni in green velvet is an enchanting creature ; 



8 PREFACE. 

but a Sikes in fustian is insupportable. A Mrs. Massaroni, being a lady in short petticoats and a fancy 
dress, is a thing to imitate in tableaux and have in lithograph on pretty songs ; but a Nancy, being a 
creature in a cotton gown and cheap shawl, is not to be thought of. It is wonderful how Virtue turns 
from dirty stockings ; and how Vice, married to ribbons and a little gay attire, changes her name, as 
wedded ladies do, and becomes Romance. 

But as the stern truth, even in the dress of this (in novels) much exalted race, was a part of the purpose 
of this book, I did not, for these readers, abate one hole in the Dodger's coat, or one scrap of curl-paper 
in Nancy's disheveled hair. I had no faith in the delicacy which could not bear to look upon them. I 
had no desire to make proselytes among such people. I had no respect for their opinion, good or bad ; 
did not covet their approval ; and did not write for their amusement. 

It has been observed of Nancy that her devotion to the brutal house-breaker does not seem natural. 
And it has been objected to Sikes in the same breath with some inconsistency, as I venture to think 
that he is surely overdrawn, because in him there would appear to be none of those redeeming traits 
which are objected to as unnatural in his mistress. Of the latter objection I will merely remark, that I 
fear there are in the world some insensible and callous natures, that do become utterly and incurably bad. 
Whether this be so or not, of one thing I am certain : that there are such men as Sikes, who, being closely 
followed through the same space of time and through the same current of circumstances, would not give, 
by the action of a moment, the faintest indication of a better nature. Whether every gentler human 
feeling is dead within such bosoms, or the proper chord to strike has rusted and is hard to find, I do not 
pretend to know ; but that the fact is as I state it, I am sure. 

It is useless to discuss whether the conduct and character of the girl seems natural or unnatural, prob 
able or improbable, right or wrong. IT is TRUE. Every man who has watched these melancholy shades 
of life, must know it to be so. From the first introduction of that poor wretch, to her laying her blood 
stained head upon the robber's breast, there is not a word exaggerated or overwrought. It is emphat 
ically God's truth, for it is the truth He leaves in such depraved and miserable breasts ; the hope yet 
lingering there ; the last fair drop of water at the bottom of the weed-choked well. It involves the best 
and worst shades of our nature ; much of its ugliest hues, and something of its most beautiful ; it is a 
contradiction, an anomaly, an apparent impossibility ; but it is a truth. I am glad to have had it doubt 
ed, for in that circumstance I should find a sufficient assurance (if I wanted any) that it needed to be told. 

In the year one thousand eight hundred and fifty, it was publicly declared in London by an amazing 
Alderman, that Jacob's Island did not exist, and never had existed. Jacob's Island continues to exist 
(like an ill-bred place as it is) in the year one thousand eight hundred and sixty-seven, though improved 
and much changed. 




OLIVER TWIST. 



CHAPTER I. 

TREATS OF THE PLACE WHERE OLIVER TWIST WAS BORN, 
AND OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES ATTENDING HIS BIRTH. 

4 MONO other public buildings in a certain town, 
X\_ which for many reasons it will be prudent to 
refrain from mentioning, and to which I will assign 
no fictitious name, there is one anciently common to 
most towns, great or small : to wit, a work-house ; 
and in this work-house was born on a day and date 
which I need not trouble myself to repeat, inasmuch 
as it can be of no possible consequence .to the reader, 
in this stage of the business at all events the item 
of mortality whose name is prefixed to the head of 
this chapter. 

For a long time after it was ushered into this 
world of sorrow and trouble, by the parish surgeon, 
it remained a matter of considerable doubt whether 
the child would survive to bear any name at all ; in 
which case it is somewhat more than probable that 
these memoirs would never have appeared ; or, if 



they had, that being comprised within a couple of 
pages, they would have possessed the inestimable 
merit of being the most concise and faithful speci 
men of biography extant in the literature of any age 
or country. 

Although I am not disposed to maintain that the 
being born in a work-house, is in itself the most for 
tunate and enviable circumstance that can possibly 
befall a human being, I do mean to say that in this 
particular instance, it was the best thing for Ol 
iver Twist that could by possibility have occurred. 
The fact is, that there was considerable difficulty in 
inducing Oliver to take upon himself the office of 
respiration, a troublesome practice, but one which 
custom has rendered necessary to our easy existence ; 
and for some time he lay gasping on a little flock 
mattress, rather unequally poised between this world 
and the next : the balance being decidedly in favor 
of the latter. Now, if, during this brief period, Ol 
iver had been surrounded by careful grandmothers, 
anxious aunts, experienced nurses, and doctors of 



10 



OLIVER TWIST. 



profound wisdom, he would most inevitably and in 
dubitably have been killed in no time. There being 
nobody by, however, but a pauper old woman, who 
was rendered rather misty by an unwonted allow 
ance of beer; and a parish surgeon who did such 
matters by contract ; Oliver and Nature fought out 
the point between them. The result was, that, after 
a few struggles, Oliver breathed, sneezed, and pro 
ceeded to advertise to the inmates of the work-house 
the fact of a new burden having been imposed upon 
the parish, by setting up as loud a cry as could rea 
sonably have been expected from a male infant who 
had not been possessed of that very useful append 
age, a voice, for a much longer space of time than 
three minutes and a quarter. 

As Oliver gave this first proof of the free and 
proper action of his lungs, the patchwork coverlet 
which was carelessly flung over the iron bedstead, 
rustled ; the pale face of a young woman was raised 
feebly from the pillow ; and a faint voice imperfect 
ly articulated the words, " Let me see the child, and 
die." 

The surgeon had been sitting with his face turned 
toward the fire: giving the palms of his hands a 
warm and a rub alternately. As the young woman 
spoke, he rose, and advancing to the bed's head, said, 
with more kindness than might have been expected 
of him : 

" Oh, you must not talk about dying yet." 

"Lor bless her dear heart, no!" interposed the 
nurse, hastily depositing in her pocket a green glass 
bottle, the contents of which she had been tasting in 
a corner with evident satisfaction. " Lor bless her 
dear heart, when she has lived as long as I have, sir, 
and had thirteen children of her own, and all on 'em 
dead except two, and them in the wurkus with me, 
she'll know better than to take on in that way, bless 
her dear heart ! Think what it is to be a mother, 
there's a dear young lamb, do." 

Apparently this consolatory perspective of a moth 
er's prospects failed in producing its due effect. The 
patient shook her head, and stretched out her hand 
toward the child. 

The surgeon deposited it in her arms. She im 
printed her cold white lips passionately on its fore 
head ; passed her hands over her face ; gazed wild 
ly round; shuddered; fell back and died. They 
chafed her breast, hands, and temples ; but the blood 
had stopped forever. They talked of hope and com 
fort. They had been strangers too long. 

" It's all over, Mrs. Thingummy !" said the surgeon 
at last. 

" Ah, poor dear, so it is !" said the nurse, picking 
up the cork of the green bottle, which had fallen out 
on the pillow, as she stooped to take up the child. 
"Poor dear!" 

" You needn't mind sending up to me, if the child 
cries, nurse," said the surgeon, putting on his gloves 
with great deliberation. " It's very likely it will be 
troublesome. Give it a little gruel if it is." He put 
on his hat, and, pausing by the bedside on his way 
to the door, added, " She was a good-looking girl, 
too ; where did she come from ?" 

" She was brought here last night," replied the old 
woman, "by the overseer's order. She was found 
lying in the street. She had walked some distance, 



for her shoes were worn to pieces ; but where she 
came from, or where she was going to, nobody 
knows." 

The surgeon leaned over the body, and raised the 
left hand. " The old story," he said, shaking his 
head : " no wedding-ring, I see. Ah ! Good-night !" 

The medical gentleman walked away to dinner; 
and the nurse, having once more applied herself to 
the green bottle, sat down on a low chair before the 
fire, and proceeded to dress the infant. 

What an excellent example of the power of dress, 
young Oliver Twist was ! Wrapped in the blanket 
which had hitherto formed his only covering, he 
might have been the child of a nobleman or a beg 
gar; it would have been hard for the haughtiest 
stranger to have assigned him his proper station in 
society. But now that he was enveloped in the old 
calico robes which had grown yellow in the same 
service, he was badged and ticketed, and fell into his 
place at once a parish child the orphan of a work 
house the humble, half-starved drudge to be cuft- 
cd and buffeted through the world despised by all, 
and pitied by none. 

Oliver cried lustily. If he could have known that 
ho \vns an orphan, left to the tender mercies of church 
wardens and overseers, perhaps he would have cried 
the louder. 



CHAPTER II. 

TREATS OF OLIVER TWIST'S GROWTH, EDUCATION, AND 
BOARD. 

FOR the next eight or ten months, Oliver was the 
victim of a systematic course of treachery and 
deception. He was brought up by hand. The hun 
gry and destitute situation of the infant orphan was 
duly reported by the work-house authorities to the 
parish authorities. The parish authorities inquired 
with dignity of the work-house authorities whether 
there was no female then domiciled " in the house " 
who was in a situation to impart to Oliver Twist the 
consolation and nourishment of which he stood in 
need. The work-house authorities replied with hu 
mility, that there was not. Upon this, the parish au 
thorities magnanimously and humanely resolved that 
Oliver should be " farmed," or, in other words, that 
he should be dispatched to a branch work-house some 
three miles off, where twenty or thirty other juvenile 
offenders against the poor-laws, rolled about the floor 
all day, without the inconvenience of too much food 
or too much clothing, under the parental superin 
tendence of an elderly female, who received the cul 
prits at and for the consideration of sevenpence-half- 
penny per small head per week. Sevenpence-half- 
penny's worth per week is a good round diet for a 
child ; a great deal may be got for sevenpence-half- 
penny, quite enough to overload its stomach, and 
make it uncomfortable. The elderly female was a 
woman of wisdom and experience ; she knew what 
was good for children ; and she had a very accurate 
perception of what was good for herself. So she ap 
propriated the greater part of the weekly stipend to 
her own use, and consigned the rising parochial gen 
eration to even a shorter allowance than was orig 
inally provided for them. Thereby finding in the 



STARVATION OF THE HERO. 



11 



lowest depth a deeper still ; and proving herself a 
very great experimental philosopher. 

Every body knows the story of another experi 
mental philosopher who had a great theory about a 
horse being able to live without eating, and who 
demonstrated it so well, that he 'got his own horse 
down to a straw a day, and would unquestionably 
have rendered him a very spirited and rampacious 
animal on nothing at all, if he had not died, four- 
and-twenty hours before he was to have had his first 
comfortable bait of air. Unfortunately for the ex 
perimental philosophy of the female to whose pro 
tecting care Oliver Twist was delivered over, a sim 
ilar result usually attended the operation of her sys 
tem ; for at the very moment when a child had con 
trived to exist upon the smallest possible portion of 
the weakest possible food, it did perversely happen 
in eight and a half cases out of ten, either that it 
sickened from want or cold, or fell into the fire from 
neglect, or got half-smothered by accident; in any 
one of which cases, the miserable little being was 
usually summoned into another world, and there 
gathered to the fathers it had never known in this. 

Occasionally, when there was some more than 
usually interesting inquest upon a parish child, who 
had been overlooked in turning up a bedstead, or in 
advertently scalded to death when there happened 
to be a washing though the latter accident was 
very scarce, any thing approaching to a washing be 
ing of rare occurrence in the farm the jury would 
take it into their heads to ask troublesome ques 
tions, or the parishioners would rebelliously affix 
their signatures to a remonstrance. But these im 
pertinences were speedily checked by the evidence 
of the surgeon, and the testimony of the beadle ; the 
former of whom had always opened the body and 
found nothing inside (which was very probable in 
deed), and the latter of whom invariably swore what 
ever the parish wanted ; which was very self-devo 
tional. Besides, the board made periodical pilgrim 
ages to the farm, and always sent the beadle the day 
before, to say they were going. The children were 
neat and clean to behold when they went ; and what 
more would the people have ! 

It can not be expected that this system of farming 
would produce any very extraordinary or luxuriant 
crop. Oliver Twist's ninth birthday found him a 
pale, thin child, somewhat diminutive in stature, and 
decidedly small in circumference. But nature or in 
heritance had implanted a good sturdy spirit in Oli 
ver's breast. It had had plenty room to expand, 
thanks to the spare diet of the establishment ; and 
perhaps to this circumstance may be attributed his 
having any ninth birthday at all. Be this as it may, 
however, it was his ninth birthday ; and he was keep 
ing it in the coal-cellar with a select party of two 
other young gentlemen, Avho, after participating with 
him in a sound thrashing, had been locked up for 
atrociously presuming to be hungry, when Mrs. Mann, 
the good lady of the house, was unexpectedly start 
led by the apparition of Mr. Bumble, the beadle, 
striving to undo the wicket of the garden-gate. 

"Goodness gracious! Is that you, Mr. Bumble, 
sir ?" said Mrs. Mann, thrusting her head out of the 
window in well-affected ecstasies of joy. " (Susan, 
take Oliver and them two brats up stairs and wash 



'em directly.) My heart alive! Mr. Bumble, how 
glad I am to see you, sure-ly !" 

Now, Mr. Bumble was a fat man, and a choleric ; 
so, instead of responding to this open-hearted salu 
tation in a kindred spirit, he gave the little wicket 
a tremendous shake, and then bestowed upon it a 
kick which could have emanated from no leg but a 
beadle's. 

" Lor, only think," said Mrs. Mann, running out, 
for the three boys had been removed by this time, 
" only think of that ! That I should have forgotten 
that the gate was bolted on the inside, on account 
of them dear children ! Walk in, sir ; walk in pray, 
Mr. Bumble, do, sir." 

Although this invitation was accompanied with a 
courtesy that might have softened the heart of a 
church- warden, it by no means mollified the beadle. 

" Do you think this respectful or proper conduct, 
Mrs. Mann," inquired Mr. Bumble, grasping his cane, 
" to keep the parish officers a-waiting at your gar 
den-gate, when they come here upon porochial busi 
ness connected with the porochial orphans? Are 
you aweer, Mrs. Mann, that you are, as I may say, a 
porochial delegate, and a stipendiary ?" 

" I'm sure, Mr. Bumble, that I was only a-telling 
one or two of the dear children as is so fond of you, 
that it was you a-coming," replied Mrs. Mann, with 
great humility. 

Mr. Bumble had a great idea of his oratorical pow 
ers and his importance. He had displayed the one, 
and vindicated the other. He relaxed. 

" Well, well, Mrs. Mann," he replied, in a calmer 
tone ; " it may be as you say ; it may be. Lead the 
way in, Mrs. Mann, for I come on business, and have 
something to say." 

Mrs. Mann ushered the beadle into a small parlor 
with a brick floor ; placed a seat for bim ; and offi 
ciously deposited his cocked hat and cane on the ta 
ble before him. Mr. Bumble wiped from his fore 
head the perspiration which his walk had engender 
ed, glanced complacently at the cocked hat, and 
smiled. Yes, he smiled. Beadles are but men : and 
Mr. Bumble smiled. 

" Now don't you be offended at what I'm a-going 
to say," observed Mrs. Mann, with a captivating 
sweetness. " You've had a long walk, you know, or 
I wouldn't mention it. Now, will you take a little 
drop of somethink, Mr. Bumble." 

" Not a drop. Not a drop," said Mr. Bumble, 
waving his right hand in a dignified, but placid 
manner. 

" I think yon will," said Mrs. Mann, who had no 
ticed the tone of the refusal, and the gesture that 
had accompanied it. " Just a leetle drop, with a lit 
tle cold water, and a lump of sugar." 

Mr. Bumble 'coughed. 

"Now, just a leetle drop," said Mrs. Mann, persua 
sively. 

" What is it ?" inquired the beadle. 

" Why, it's what I'm obliged to keep a little of in 
the house, to put into the blessed infants' Daffy, when 
they ain't well, Mr. Bumble," replied Mrs. Mann, as 
she opened a corner cupboard and took down a bot 
tle and glass. " It's gin. I'll not deceive you, Mr. 
B. It's gin." 

" Do you give the children Daffy, Mrs. Mann ?" in- 



12 



OLIVER TWIST. 



quired Bumble, following with his eyes the interest 
ing process of mixing. 

" Ah, bless 'em, that I do, dear as it is," replied the 
nurse. "I couldn't see 'em suffer before my very 
eyes, you know, sir." 

"No," said Mr. Bumble, approvingly; "no, you 
could not. You are a humane woman, Mrs. Mann." 
(Here she set down the glass.) "I shall take a 
early opportunity of mentioning it to the board, Mrs. 
Mann." (He drew it toward him.) "You feel as a 
mother, Mrs. Mann." (He stirred the gin-and-wa- 
ter.) " I I drink your health with cheerfulness, 
Mrs. Maun ;" and he swallowed half of it. 

" And now about business," said the beadle, tak 
ing out a leathern pocket-book. "The child that 
was half-baptized Oliver Twist, is nine year old to 
day." 

" Bless him !" interposed Mrs. Mann, inflaming her 
left eye with the corner of her apron. 

"And notwithstanding a offered reward of ten 
pound, which was afterward increased to twenty 
pound. Notwithstanding the most superlative, and, 
I may say, supernat'ral exertions on the part of this 
parish," said Bumble, " we have never been able to 
discover who is his father, or what w r as his mother's 
settlemept, name, or con dition." 

Mrs. Mann raised her hands in astonishment ; but 
added, after a moment's reflection, " How comes he 
to have any name at all, then ?" 

The beadle drew himself up with great pride, and 
said, " I iuwented it." 

" You, Mr. Bumble !" 

" I, Mrs. Mann. We name our foundlings in al 
phabetical order. The last was a S Swubble, I 
named him. This was a T Twist, I named Mm. 
The next one as comes will be Unwin, and the next 
Vilkins. I have got names ready made to the end 
of the alphabet, and all the way through it again, 
when we come to Z." 

" Why, you are quite a literary character, sir !" said 
Mrs. Mann. 

"Well, well," said the beadle, evidently gratified 
with the compliment ; " perhaps I may be. ferhaps 
I may be, Mrs. Mann." He finished the gin-and-wa- 
ter, and added, " Oliver being now too old to remain 
here, the board have determined to have him back 
into the house. I have come out myself to take him 
there. So let me see him at once." 

" I'll fetch him directly," said Mrs. Mann, leaving 
the room for that purpose. Oliver, having had by 
this time as much of the outer coat of dirt which 
incrusted his face and hands, removed, as could be 
scrubbed off in one washing, was led into the room 
by his benevolent protectress. 

" Make a bow to the gentleman, Oliver," said Mrs. 
Mann. 

Oliver made a bow, which was divided between 
the beadle on the chair, and the cocked hat on the 
table. 

" Will you go along with me, Oliver ?" said Mr. 
Bumble, in a majestic voice. 

Oliver was about to say that he would go along 
with any body with great readiness, when, glancing 
upward, he caught sight of Mrs. Mann, who had got 
behind the beadle's chair, and was shaking her fist 
at him with a furious countenance. He took the 



hint at once, for the fist had been too often impress 
ed upon his body not to be deeply impressed upon 
his recollection. 

" Will she go with me ?" inquired poor Oliver. 

" No, she can't," replied Mr. Bumble. " But she'll 
come and see you sometimes." 

This was no very great consolation to the child. 
Young as he was, however, he had sense enough to 
make a feint of feeling great regret at going away. 
It was no very difficult matter for the boy to call 
tears into his eyes. Hunger and recent ill-usage are 
great assistants if you want to cry ; and Oliver cried 
very naturally indeed. Mrs. Mann gave him a thou 
sand embraces, and, what Oliver wanted a great deal 
more, a piece of bread-and-butter, lest he should si-cm 
too hungry when he got to the work-house. With 
the slice of bread in his hand, and the little brown- 
cloth parish cap on his head, Oliver was then led 
away by Mr. Bumble from the wretched home Avhcrr 
one kind word or look had never lighted the gloom 
of his infant years. And yet he burst into an agony 
of childish grief, as the cottage-gate closed after him. 
Wretched as were the little companions in misery he 
was leaving behind, they were the only friends he 
had ever known ; and a sense of his loneliness in the 
great wide world, sank into the child's heart for the 
first time. 

Mr. Bumble walked on with long strides ; little 
Oliver, firmly grasping his gold - laced cuff, trotted 
beside him, inquiring at the end of every quarter of 
a mile whether they were " nearly there." To these 
interrogations Mr. Bumble returned very brief and 
snappish replies; for the temporary blandness which 
gin-and-water awakens in some bosoms had by this 
time evaporated ; and he was once again a beadle. 

Oliver had not been within the walls of the work 
house a quarter of an hour, and had scarcely com 
pleted the demolition of a second slice of bread, 
when Mr. Bumble, who had handed him over to the 
care of an old woman, returned ; and, telling him it 
was a board night, informed him that the board had 
said he was to appear before it forthwith. 

. Not having a very clearly defined notion of what 
a live board was, Oliver was rather astounded by this 
intelligence, and was not quite certain whether he 
ought to laugh or cry. He had no time to think 
about the matter, however ; for Mr. Bumble gave 
him a tap on the head with his cane, to wake him 
up : and another oil the back to make him lively : 
and bidding him follow, conducted him into a large 
whitewashed room, where eight or ten fat gentlemen 
were sitting round a table. At the top of the table, 
seated in an arm-chair rather higher than the rest, 
was a particularly fat gentleman with a very round, 
red face. 

" Bow to the board," said Bumble. Oliver brush 
ed away two or three tears that were lingering in 
his eyes ; and seeing no board but the table, fortu 
nately bowed to that. 

" What's your name, boy ?" said the gentleman in 
the high chair. 

Oliver was frightened at the sight of so many gen 
tlemen, which made him tremble : and the beadle 
gave him another tap behind, which made him cry. 
These two causes made him answer in a very low 
and hesitating voice ; whereupon a gentleman in a 



BEFORE THE BOARD. 



13 



white waistcoat said he was a fool. Which was a 
capital way of raising his spirits, aud putting him 
quite at his case. 

" Boy," said the gentleman in the high chair, " list 
en to me. You know you're an orphan, I suppose ?" 

" What's that, sir?" inquired poor Oliver. 

" The boy is a fool I thought he was," said the 
gentleman in the white waistcoat. 

" Hush !" said the gentleman who had spoken first. 
" You know you've got no father or mother, and that 
you were brought up by the parish, don't you ?" 

" Yes, sir," replied Oliver, weeping bitterly. 

" What are you crying for ?" inquired the gentle 
man in the white waistcoat. And to be sure it was 
very extraordinary. What could the boy be crying 
for! 

" I hope you say your prayers every night," said 
another gentleman, in a gruff voice ; " and pray for 
the people who feed you and take care of you like 
a Christian." 

" Yes, sir," stammered the boy. The gentleman 
who spoke last was unconsciously right. It would 
have been very like a Christian, and a marvelously 
good Christian, too, if Oliver had prayed for the peo 
ple who fed and took care of Mm. But he hadn't, 
because nobody had taught him. 

" Well ! You have come here to be educated, and 
taught a useful trade," said the red-faced gentleman 
in the high chair. 

" So you'll begin to pick oakum to-morrow morn 
ing at six o'clock," added the surly one in the white 
waistcoat. 

For the combination of both these blessings in the 
one simple process of picking oakum, Oliver bowed 
low by the direction of the beadle, and was then hur 
ried away to a large ward : where, on a rough, hard 
bed, he sobbed himself to sleep. What a noble illus 
tration of the tender laws of England ! They let the 
paupers go to sleep ! 

Poor Oliver ! He little thought, as he lay sleeping 
in happy unconsciousness of all around him, that the 
board had that very day arrived at a decision which 
would exercise the most material influence over all 
his future fortunes. But they had. And this was 
it: 

The members of this board were very sage, deep, 
philosophical men ; and Avhen they came to turn 
their attention to the work-house, they found out at 
once, what ordinary folks would never have discov 
ered the poor people liked it! It was a regular 
place of public entertainment for the poorer classes; 
a tavern where there was nothing to pay ; a public 
breakfast, dinner, tea, and supper, all the year round ; 
a brick and mortar elysium, where it was all play 
and no work. " Oho !" said the board, looking very 
knowing ; " we are the fellows to set this to rights ; 
we'll stop it all, in no time." So, they established 
the rule, that all poor people should have the alter 
native (for they would compel nobody, not they), of 
being starved by a gradual process in the house, or 
by a quick one out of it. With this view, they con 
tracted with the water-works to lay on an unlimited 
supply of water ; and with a corn-factor to supply 
periodically small quantities of oatmeal ; and issued 
three meals of thin gruel a day, with an onion twice 
a week, and half a roll on Sundays. They made a 



great many other wise and humane regulations, hav 
ing reference to the ladies, which it is not necessary 
to repeat ; kindly undertook to divorce poor married 
people, in consequence of the great expense of a suit 
in Doctors' Commons ; and, instead of compelling a 
man to support his family, as they had theretofore 
done, took his family away from him, and made him 
a bachelor! There is no saying how many appli 
cants for relief, under these last two heads, might 
have started up in all classes of society, if it had not 
been coupled with the work-house; but the board 
were long - headed men, and had provided for this 
difficulty. The relief was inseparable from the 
work-house and the gruel ; and that frightened peo 
ple. 

For the first six months after Oliver Twist was 
removed, the system was in full operation. It was 
rather expensive at first, in consequence of the in 
crease in the undertaker's bill, and the necessity of 
taking in the clothes of all the paupers, which flut 
tered loosely on their wasted, shrunken forms, after 
a week or two's gruel. But the number of work 
house inmates got thin as well as the paupers ; and 
the board were in ecstasies. 

The room in which the boys were fed was a large 
stone hall, with a copper at one end ; out of which 
the master, dressed in an apron for the purpose, and 
assisted by one or two women, ladled the gruel at 
meal - times. Of this festive composition each boy 
had one porringer, and no more except on occa 
sions of great public rejoicing, when he had two 
ounces and a quarter of bread besides. The bowls 
never wanted washing. The boys polished them 
with their spoons till they shone again ; and when 
they had performed this operation (which never 
took very long, the spoons being nearly as large as 
the bowls), they would sit staring at the copper, 
with such eager eyes, as if they could have devoured 
the very bricks of which it was composed ; employ 
ing themselves, meanwhile, in sucking their fingers 
most assiduously, with the view of catching up any 
stray splashes of gruel that might have been cast 
thereon. Boys have generally excellent appetites. 
Oliver Twist and his companions suffered the tor 
tures of slow starvation for three months: at last 
they got so voracious and wild with hunger, that 
one boy, who was tall for his age, and hadn't been 
used to that sort of thing (for his father had kept a 
small cook-shop), hinted darkly to his companions, 
that unless he had another basin of gruel per diem, 
he was afraid he might some night happen to eat 
the boy who slept next him, who happened to be a 
weakly youth of tender age. He had a wild, hungry 
eye; and they implicitly believed him. A council 
was held ; lots were cast who should walk up to the 
master after supper that evening, and ask for more ; 
and it fell to Oliver Twist. 

The evening arrived ; the boys took their places. 
The master, in his cook's uniform, stationed himself 
at the copper; his pauper assistants ranged them 
selves behind him ; the gruel was served out ; and a 
long grace was said over the short commons. The 
gruel disappeared; the boys whispered each other, 
and winked at Oliver ; while his next neighbors 
nudged him. Child as he was, he was desperate 
I with hunger, and reckless with misery. He rose 



14 



OLIVER TWIST. 



from the table ; and advancing to the master, basin 
and spoon in hand, said, somewhat alarmed at his 
owu temerity : 

" Please, sir, I want some more." 

The master was a fat, healthy man ; but he turned 
very pale. He gazed in stupefied astonishment on 
the small rebel for some seconds, and then clung for 
support to the copper. The assistants were para 
lyzed with wonder ; the boys with fear. 

"What!" said the master at length, in a faint 
voice. 

" Please, sir," replied Oliver, " I want some more." 

The master aimed a blow at Oliver's head with the 
ladle ; pinioned him in his arms ; and shrieked aloud 
for the beadle. 

The board were sitting in solemn conclave, when 
Mr. Bumble rushed into the room in great excite 
ment, and addressing the gentleman in the high 
chair, said, 

"Mr. Limbkius, I beg your pardon, sir! Oliver 
Twist has asked for more." 

There was a general start. Horror was depicted 
on every countenance. 

" For more !" said Mr. Limbkins. " Compose your 
self, Bumble, and answer me distinctly. Do I under 
stand that he asked for more, after he had eaten the 
supper allotted by the dietary ?" 

" He did, sir," replied Bumble. 

" That boy will be hung," said the gentleman in 
the white waistcoat. "I know that boy will be 
hung." 

Nobody controverted the prophetic gentleman's 
opinion. An animated discussion took place. Ol 
iver was ordered into instant confinement; and a 
bill was next morning pasted on the outside of the 
gate, offering a reward of five pounds to any body 
who would take Oliver Twist off the hands of the 
parish. In other words, five pounds and Oliver 
Twist were offered to any man or woman who want 
ed an apprentice to any trade, business, or calling. 

" I never was more convinced of any thing in my 
life," said the gentleman in the white waistcoat, as 
he knocked at the gate and read the bill next morn 
ing : " I never was more convinced of any thing in 
my life, than I am that that boy will come to be 
hung." 

As I purpose to show in the sequel whether the 
white -waistcoated gentleman was right or not, I 
should perhaps mar the interest of this narrative 
(supposing it to possess any at all), if I ventured to 
hint just yet, whether the life of Oliver Twist had 
this violent termination or no. 



CHAPTER III. 

RELATES HOW OLIVER TWIST WAS VERT NEAR GETTING 
A PLACE WHICH WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN A SINECURE. 

FOR a week after the commission of the impious 
and profane offense of asking for more, Oliver 
remained a close prisoner in the dark and solitary 
room to which he had been consigned by the wis 
dom and mercy of the board. It appears, at first 
sight, not unreasonable to suppose that, if he had 
entertained a becoming feeling of respect for the 



prediction of the gentleman in the white waistcoat, 
he would have established that sage individual's pro 
phetic character, once and forever, by tying one end 
of his pocket-handkerchief to a hook in the wall, and 
attaching himself to the other. To the performance 
of this feat, however, there was one obstacle ; name 
ly, that pocket-handkerchiefs being decided articles 
of luxury, had been, for all future times and ages, 
removed from the noses of paupers by the express 
order of the board, in council assembled : solemnly 
given and pronounced under their hands and seals. 
There was a still greater obstacle in Oliver's youth 
and childishness. He only cried bitterly all day; 
and, when the long, dismal night came on, spread his 
little hands before bis eyes to shut out the darkness, 
and crouching in the corner, tried to sleep : ever and 
anon waking with a start and tremble, and drawing 
himself closer and closer to the wall, as if to feel 
even its cold hard surface were a protection in the 
gloom and loneliness which surrounded him. 

Let it not be supposed by the enemies of "the 
system," that, during the period of his solitary in 
carceration, Oliver was denied the benefit of exer 
cise, the pleasure of society, or the advantages of re 
ligious consolation. As for exercise, it was nice cold 
weather, and he was allowed to perform his ablu 
tions every morning under the pump, in a stone 
yard, in the presence of Mr. Bumble, who prevented 
his catching cold, and caused a tingling sensation to 
pervade his frame, by repeated applications of the 
cane. As for society, he was carried every other day 
into the hall where the boys dined, and there socia 
bly flogged as a public warning and example. And 
so far from being denied the advantages of religious 
consolation, he was kicked into the same apartment 
every evening at prayer-time, and there permitted to 
listen to, and console his mind with, a general suppli 
cation of the boys, containing a special clause, there 
in inserted by authority of the board, in which they 
entreated to be made good, virtuous, contented, and 
obedient, and to be guarded from the sins and vices 
of Oliver Twist: whom the supplication distinctly 
set forth to be under the exclusive patronage and 
protection of the powers of wickedness, and an arti 
cle direct from the manufactory of the very Devil 
himself. 

It chanced one morning, while Oliver's affairs 
were in this auspicious and comfortable state, that 
Mr. Gamfield, chimney-sweep, went his way down 
the High Street, deeply cogitating in his mind his 
ways and means of paying certain arrears of rent, 
for which his landlord had become rather pressing. 
Mr. Gamfield's most sanguine estimate of his finances 
could not raise them within full five pounds of the 
desired amount ; and, in a species of arithmetical 
desperation, he was alternately cudgeling his brains 
and his donkey, when, passing the work-house, his 
eyes encountered the bill on the gate. 

"Wo o !" said Mr. Gamfield to the donkey. 

The donkey was in a state of profound abstrac 
tion : wondering, probably, whether he was destined 
to be regaled with a cabbage-stalk or two when he 
had disposed of the two sacks of soot with which the 
little cart was laden ; so, without noticing the word 
of command, he jogged onward. 

Mr. Gamfield growled a fierce imprecation on the 



ALMOST APPRENTICED. 



15 



donkey generally, but more particularly on his eyes ; 
and, running after him, bestowed a blow on Ms head, 
which would inevitably have beaten in any skull but 
a donkey's. Then, catching hold of the bridle, he 
gave his jaw a sharp wrench, by way of gentle re 
minder that he was not his own master; and by 
these means turned him round. He then gave him 
another blow on the head, just to stun him till he 
came back again. Having completed these arrange 
ments, he walked up to the gate, to read the bill. 

The gentleman with the white waistcoat was stand 
ing at the gate with his hands behind him, after hav 
ing delivered himself of some profound sentiments in 
the board-room. Having witnessed the little dispute 
between Mr. Gamfield and the donkey, he smiled joy 
ously when that person came up to read the bill, for 
he saw at once that Mr. Gamfield was exactly the 
sort of master Oliver Twist wanted. Mr. Gamfield 
smiled, too, as he perused the document ; for five 
pounds was just the sum he had been wishing for ; 
and, as to the boy with which it was incumbered, 
Mr. Gamfield, knowing Avhat the dietary of the work 
house was, well knew he would be a nice small pat 
tern, just the very thing for register stoves. So, he 
spelled the bill through again from beginning to end ; 
and then, touching his fur cap in token of humility, 
accosted the gentleman in the white waistcoat. 

" This here boy, sir, wot the parish wants to 'pren- 
tis," said Mr. Gamfield. 

"Ay, my man," said the gentleman in the white 
waistcoat, with a condescending smile. " What of 
him ?" 

" If the parish vould like him to learn a light pleas 
ant trade, in a good 'spectable chimbley-sweepiu' bis- 
ness," said Mr. Gamfield, " I wants a 'prentis, and I 
am ready to take him." 

" Walk in," said the gentleman in the white waist 
coat, Mr. Gamfield having lingered behind, to give 
the donkey another blow on the head, and another 
wrench of the jaw, as a caution not to run away in 
his absence, followed the gentleman with the white 
waistcoat into the room where Oliver had first seen 
him. 

" It's a nasty trade," said Mr. Limbkins, when 
Gamfield had again stated his wish. 

"Young boys have been smothered in chimneys 
before now," said another gentleman. 

" That's acause they damped the straw afore they 
lit it in the chimbley to make 'em come down agin," 
said Gamfield ; " that's all smoke, and no blaze ; 
vereas smoke ain't o' no use at all in making a boy 
come down, for it only siuds him to sleep, and that's 
wot he likes. Boys is wery obstiuit, and wery lazy, 
gen'lmen, and there's nothink like a good hot blaze 
to make 'em come down vith a run. It's humane 
too, gen'lmen, acause, even if they've stuck in the 
chimbley, roasting their feet makes 'em struggle to 
hextricate theirselves." 

The gentleman in the white waistcoat appeared 
very much amused by this explanation ; but his 
mirth was speedily checked by a look from Mr. 
Limbkins. The board then proceeded to converse 
among themselves for a few minutes, but in so low a 
tone, that the words " saving of expenditure," " look 
ed well in the accounts," " have a printed report pub 
lished," were alone audible. These only chanced to 



be heard, indeed, on account of their being very fre 
quently repeated with great emphasis. 

At length the whispering ceased; and the mem 
bers of the board, having resumed their seats and 
their solemnity, Mr. Limbkins said : 

" We have considered your proposition, and we 
don't approve of it." 

"Not at all," said the gentleman in the white 
waistcoat. 

" Decidedly not," added the other members. 

As Mr. Gamfield did happen to labor under the 
slight imputation of having bruised three or four 
boys to death already, it occurred to him that the 
board had, perhaps, in some unaccountable freak, 
taken it into their heads that this extraneous circum 
stance ought to influence their proceedings. It was 
very unlike their general mode of doing business, if 
they had ; but still, as he had no particular wish to 
revive the rumor, he twisted his cap in his hands, 
and walked slowly from the table. 

" So you won't let me have him, gen'lmen ?" said 
Mr. Gamfield, pausing near the door. 

" No," replied Mr. Limbkins ; " at least, as it's a 
nasty business, we think you ought to take some 
thing less than the premium we oifered." 

Mr. Gamfield's countenance brightened, as, with a 
quick step, he returned to the table, and said, 

" What'll you give, gen'lmen ? Come ! Don't be 
too hard on a poor man. What'll you give ?" 

" I should say three pound ten was plenty," said 
Mr. Limbkins. 

" Ten shillings too much," said the gentleman in 
the white waistcoat. 

" Come !" said Gamfield ; " say four pound, gen'l 
men. Say four pound, and you've got rid on him for 
good and all. There !" 

" Three pound ten," repeated Mr. Limbkins, firmly. 

" Come ! I'll split the difference, gen'lmen," urged 
Gamfield. " Three pound fifteen." 

" Not a farthing more," was the firm reply of Mr. 
Limbkins. 

" You're desperate hard upon me, gen'lmen," said 
Gamfield, wavering. 

"Pooh! pooh! nonsense!" said the gentleman in 
the white waistcoat. " He'd be cheap with nothing 
at all, as a premium. Take him, you silly fellow ! 
He's just the boy for you. He wants the stick, now 
and then : it'll do him good ; and his board needn't 
come very expensive, for he hasn't been overfed since 
he was born. Ha! ha! ha!" 

JMr. Gamfield gave an arch look at the faces round 
the table, and, observing a smile on all of them, grad 
ually broke into a smile himself. The bargain was 
made. Mr. Bumble was at once instructed that Oli 
ver Twist and his indentures were to be conveyed 
before the magistrate, for signature and approval, 
that very afternoon. 

In pursuance of this determination, little Oliver, to 
his excessive astonishment, was released from bond 
age, and ordered to put himself into a clean shirt. 
He had hardly achieved this very unusual gymnas 
tic performance, when Mr. Bumble brought him, with 
his own hands, a basin of gruel, and the holiday al 
lowance of two ounces and a quarter of bread. At 
this tremendous sight, Oliver began to cry very pit- 
eously : thinking, not unnaturally, that the board 



16 



OLIVER TWIST. 



must have determined to kill him for some useful 
purpose, or they never would have begun to fatten 
him up in that way. 

" Don't make your eyes red, Oliver, but eat your 
food and be thankful," said Mr. Bumble, in a tone of 
impressive pomposity. " You're a going to be made 
a 'prentice of, Oliver." 

"A 'prentice, sir!" said the child, trembling. 

" Yes, Oliver," said Mr. Bumble. " The kind and 
blessed gentlemen which is so many parents to you, 
Oliver, when you had none of your own, are a going 
to 'prentice you, and to set you up in life, and make 
a man of you : although the expense to the parish is 
three pound ten ! three pound ten, Oliver ! seventy 
shillings one hundred and forty sixpences ! and all 
for a naughty orphan which nobody can't love." 

As Mr. Bumble paused to take breath, after deliv 
ering this address in an awful voice, the tears rolled 
down the poor child's face, and he sobbed bitterly. 

" Come," said Mr. Bumble, somewhat less pompous 
ly, for it was gratifying to his feelings to observe the 
effect his eloquence had produced ; " come, Oliver ! 
Wipe your eyes with the cuffs of your jacket, and 
don't cry into your gruel ; that's a very foolish ac 
tion, Oliver." It certainly was, for there was quite 
enough water in it already. 

On their way to the magistrate, Mr. Bumble in 
structed Oliver that all he would have to do would 
be to look very happy, and say, when the gentleman 
asked him if he wanted to be apprenticed, that he 
should like it very much indeed ; both of which in 
junctions Oliver promised to obey: the rather as Mr. 
Bumble threw in a gentle hint, that if he failed in 
either particular, there was no telling what would 
be done to him. When they arrived at the office, he 
was shut up in a little room by himself, and admon 
ished by Mr. Bumble to stay there, until he came 
back to fetch him. 

There the boy remained, with a palpitating heart, 
for half an hour. At the expiration of which time 
Mr. Bumble thrust in his head, unadorned with the 
cocked hat, and said aloud : 

" Now, Oliver, my dear, come to the gentleman." 
As Mr. Bumble said this, he put on a grim and threat 
ening look, and added, in a low voice, " Mind Avhat I 
told you, you young rascal !" 

Oliver stared innocently in Mr. Bumble's face at 
this somewhat contradictory style of address ; but 
that gentleman prevented his offering any remark 
thereupon, by leading him at once into an adjoin 
ing room : the door of which was open. It was. a 
large room, with a great window. Behind a desk 
sat two old gentlemen with powdered heads : one of 
whom was reading the newspaper ; while the other 
was perusing, with the aid of a pair of tortoise-shell 
spectacles, a small piece of parchment which lay be 
fore him. Mr. Limbkins was standing in front of 
the desk on one side ; and Mr. Gamfield, with a par 
tially washed face, on the other; while two or three 
bluff-looking men, in top-boots, were lounging about. 

The old gentleman with the spectacles gradually 
dozed off, over the little bit of parchment ; and there 
was a short pause, after Oliver had been stationed by 
Mr. Bumble in front of the desk. 

" This is the boy, your worship," said Mr. Bumble. 

The old gentleman who was reading the newspa 



per raised his head for a moment, and pulled the oth 
er old gentleman by the sleeve ; whereupon the last- 
mentioned old gentleman woke up. 

" Oh, is this the boy ?" said the old gentleman. 

" This is him, sir," replied Mr. Bumble. " Bow to 
the magistrate, my dear." 

Oliver roused himself, and made his best obeisance. 
He had been wondering, with his eyes fixed on the 
magistrates' powder, whether all boards were born 
with that white stuff on their heads, and were boards 
from thenceforth on that account. 

"Well," said the old gentleman, "I suppose he's 
fond of chimney-sweeping ?" 

" He dotes on it, your worship," replied Bumble ; 
giving Oliver a sly pinch, to intimate that he had 
better not say he didn't. 

" And he will be a sweep, will he ?" inquired the 
old gentleman. 

" If we was to bind him to any other trade to-mor 
row, he'd run away simultaneous, your worship," re 
plied Bumble. 

" And this man that's to be his master you, sir 
you'll treat him well, and feed him, and do all that 
sort of thing, will you ?" said the old gentleman. 

" When I says I will, I means I will," replied Mr. 
Gamfield, doggedly. 

" You're a rough speaker, my friend, but you look 
an honest, open-hearted man," said the old gentle 
man : turning his spectacles in the direction of the 
candidate for Oliver's premium, whose villainous 
countenance was a regular stamped receipt for cru 
elty. But the magistrate was half blind and half 
childish, so he couldn't reasonably be expected to 
discern what other people did. 

" I hope I am, sir," said Mr. Gamfield, with an ugly 
leer. 

" I have no doubt you are, my friend," replied the 
old gentleman, fixing his spectacles more firmly on 
his nose, and looking about him for the inkstand. 

It was the critical moment of Oliver's fate. If the 
inkstand had been where the old gentleman thought 
it was, he would have dipped his pen into it, and 
signed the indentures, and Oliver would have been 
straightway hurried off. But, as it chanced to be 
immediately under his nose, it followed, as a matter 
of course, that he looked all over his desk for it, with 
out finding it ; and happening in the course of his 
search to look straight before him, his gaze encoun 
tered the pale and terrified face of Oliver T\vist : 
who, despite all the admonitory looks and pinches of 
Bumble, was regarding the repulsive countenance 
of his future master, with a mingled expression of 
horror and fear, too palpable to be mistaken, even by 
a half-blind magistrate. 

The old gentleman stopped, laid down his pen, and 
looked from Oliver to Mr. Limbkins ; who attempted 
to take snuff with a cheerful and unconcerned aspect. 

"My boy!" said the old gentleman, leaning over 
the desk. Oliver started at the sound. He might 
be excused for doing so : for the words were kindly 
said; and strange sounds frighten one. He trembled 
violently, and burst into tears. 

" My boy !" said the old gentleman, " you look pale 
and alarmed. What is the matter ?" 

" Stand a little away from him, Beadle," said the 
other magistrate : laying aside the paper, and lean- 



ANOTHER PLACE OFFERS. 



17 



iug forward with aii expression of interest. " Now, 
boy, tell us what's the matter : don't be afraid." 

Oliver fell on his knees, and clasping his hands to 
gether, prayed that they would order him back to the 
dark room that they would starve him beat him 
kill him, if they pleased rather than send him 
away with that dreadful man. 

" Well !" said Mr. Bumble, raising his hands and 
eyes with most impressive solemnity. " Well ! of all 
the artful and designing orphans that ever I see, 
Oliver, you are one of the most barcfacedest." 

" Hold your tongue, Beadle," said the second old 
gentleman, when Mr. Bumble had given vent to this 
compound adjective. 

" I beg your worship's pardon," said Mr. Bumble, 
incredulous of his having heard aright. " Did your 
worship speak to me ?" 

" Yes. Hold your tongue." 

Mr. Bumble was stupefied with astonishment. A 
beadle ordered to hold his tongue ! A moral revolu 
tion! 

The old gentleman in the tortoise-shell spectacles 
looked at his companion, he nodded significantly. 

" We refuse to sanction these indentures," said the 
old gentleman : tossing aside the piece of parchment 
as he spoke. 

" I hope," stammered Mr. Limbkins : " I hope the 
magistrates will not form the opinion that the au 
thorities have been guilty of any improper conduct, 
on the unsupported testimony of a mere child." 

" The magistrates are not called upon to pronounce 
any opinion on the matter," said the second old gen 
tleman sharply. " Take the boy back to the work 
house, and treat him kindly. He seems to want it." 

That same evening, the gentleman in the white 
waistcoat most positively and decidedly affirmed, 
not only that Oliver would be hung, but that he 
would be drawn and quartered into the bargain. 
Mr. Bumble shook his head with gloomy mystery, 
and said he wished he might come to good ; where- 
unto Mr. Gamfield replied, that he wished he might 
come to him ; which, although he agreed with the 
beadle in most matters, would seem to be a wish of 
a totally opposite description. 

The next morning, the public were once more in 
formed that Oliver Twist was again To Let, and that 
five pounds would be paid to auy body who would 
take possession of him. 



CHAPTER IV. 

OLIVER, BEING OFFERED ANOTHER PLACE, MAKES HIS 
FIRST ENTRY INTO PUBLIC LIFE. 

IN great families, when an advantageous place can 
not be obtained, either in possession, reversion, re 
mainder, or expectancy, for the young man who is 
growing up, it is a very general custom to send him 
to sea. The board, in imitation of so wise and salu 
tary an example, took counsel together on the expe 
diency of shipping off Oliver Twist in some small 
trailing vessel bound to a good unhealthy port. This 
suggested itself as the very best thing that could pos 
sibly be done with him ; the probability being that 
the skipper would flog him to death, in a playful 
B 



mood, some day after dinner, or would knock his 
brains out with an iron bar ; both pastimes being, as 
is pretty generally known, very favorite and common 
recreations among gentlemen of that class. The 
more the case presented itself to the board, in this 
point of view, the more manifold the advantages of 
the step appeared ; so, they came to the conclusion 
that the only way of providing for Oliver effectually, 
was to send him to sea without delay. 

Mr. Bumble had been dispatched to make various 
preliminary inquiries, Avith the view of finding out 
some captain or other who wanted a cabin-boy with 
out any friends ; and was returning to the work 
house to communicate the result of his mission ; 
when he encountered at the gate no less a person 
than Mr. Sowerberry, the parochial undertaker. 

Mr. Sowerberry was a tall, gaunt, large -jointed 
man, attired in a suit of threadbare black, with darned 
cotton stockings of the same color, and shoes to an 
swer. His features were not naturally intended to 
wear a smiling aspect, but he was in general rather 
given to professional jocosity. His step was elastic, 
and his face betokened inward pleasantry, as he ad 
vanced to Mr. Bumble, and shook him cordially by 
the hand. 

" I have taken the measure of the two women that 
died last night, Mr. Bumble," said the undertaker. 

" You'll make your fortune, Mr. Sowerberry," said 
the beadle, as he thrust his thumb and forefinger 
into the proffered snuff-box of the undertaker : which 
was an ingenious little model of a patent coffin. " I 
say you'll make your fortune, Mr. Sowerberry," re 
peated Mr. Bumble, tapping the undertaker on the 
shoulder, in a friendly manner, with his cane. 

" Think so f ' said the undertaker, in a tone which 
half admitted and half disputed the probability of 
the event. "The prices allowed by the board are 
very small, Mr. Bumble." 

" So are the coffins," replied the beadle : with pre 
cisely as near an approach to a laugh as a great offi 
cial ought to indulge in. 

Mr. Sowerberry was much tickled at this : as of 
course he ought to be ; and laughed a long time 
without cessation. "Well, well, Mr. Bumble," he 
said at length, " there's no denying that, since the 
new system of feeding has come in, the coffins are 
something narrower and more shallow than they 
used to be ; but we must have some profit, Mr. Bum 
ble. Well-seasoned timber is an expensive article, 
sir; and all the iron handles come, by canal, from 
Birmingham." 

" Well, well," said Mr. Bumble, " every trade has 
its drawbacks. A fair profit is, of course, allowable." 

" Of course, of course," replied the undertaker ; 
" and if I don't get a profit upon this or that particu 
lar article, why, I make it up in the long run, you 
see he! he! he!" 

" Just so," said Mr. Bumble. 

" Though I must say," continued the undertaker, 
resuming the current of observations which the bea 
dle had interrupted : " though I must say, Mr. Bum 
ble, that I have to contend against one very great 
disadvantage : which is, that*all the stout people go 
off the quickest. The people who have been better 
off, and have paid rates for many years, arc the first 
to sink when they come into the house ; and let me 



18 



OLIVER TWIST. 



tell you, Mr. Bumble, that three or four inches over 
one's calculation makes a great hole in one's prof 
its : especially when one has a family to provide for, 
sir." 

As Mr. Sowerberry said this, with the becoming in 
dignation of an ill-used man ; and as Mr. Bumble felt 
that it rather tended to convey a reflection on the 
honor of the parish ; the latter gentleman thought it 
advisable to change the subject. Oliver Twist being 
uppermost in his mind, he made him his theme. 

" By-the-bye," said Mr. Bumble, " you don't know 
any body who wants a boy, do you ? A porochial 
'prentis, who is at present a dead- weight ; a mill 
stone, as I may say; round the porochial throat? 
Liberal terms, Mr. Sowerberry, liberal terms !" As 



put it on, I remember, for the first time, to attend 
the inquest on that reduced tradesman, who died in a 
door-way at midnight." 

"I recollect," said the undertaker. "The jury 
brought it in, ' Died from exposure to the cold, and 
want of the common necessaries of life,' didn't they ?" 

Mr. Bumble nodded. 

"And they made it a special verdict, I think," said 
the undertaker, " by adding some words to the effect 
that if the relieving officer had 

" Tush ! Foolery !" interposed the beadle. " If 
the board attended to all the nonsense that ignorant 
jurymen talk, they'd have enough to do." 

"Very true," said the undertaker; "they would 
indeed." 




" LIBERAL TERMS, MR. 8OWEHBERRY, LIBERAL TERMS 1" 



Mr. Bumble spoke, he raised his cane to the bill above 
him, and gave three distinct raps upon the words 
" five pounds ;" which were printed thereon in Eo- 
man capitals of gigantic size. 

" Gadso !" said the undertaker, taking Mr. Bum 
ble by the gilt-edged lappel of his official coat; 
" that's just the very thing I wanted to speak to you 
about. You know dear me, what a very elegant 
button this is, Mr. Bumble ! I never noticed it be 
fore." 

" Yes, I think it is rather pretty," said the beadle, 
glancing proudly downward at the large brass but 
tons which embellished his coat. "The die is the 
same as the porochial seal the Good Samaritan heal 
ing the sick and bruised man. The board presented 
it to me on New-year's morning, Mr. Sowerberry. I 



"Juries," said Mr. Bumble, grasping his cane tight 
ly, as was his wont when working into a passion : 
"juries is ineddicated, vulgar, groveling wretches." 

" So they are," said the undertaker. 

"They haven't no more philosophy nor political 
economy about 'em than that," said the beadle, snap 
ping his fingers contemptuously. 

" No more they have," acquiesced the undertaker. 

" I despise 'em," said the beadle, growing very red 
in the face. 

" So do I," rejoined the undertaker. 

"And I only wish we'd a jury of the independent 
sort in the house for a week or two," said the beadle ; 
" the rules and regulations of the board would soon 
bring their spirit down for 'em." 

" Let 'em alone for that," replied the undertaker. 



ANOTHER PLACE OFFERS. 



lit 



So saying, he smiled approvingly, to calm the rising 
wrath of the indignant parish officer. 

Mr. Bumble lifted off his cocked hat ; took a hand 
kerchief from the inside of the crown ; wiped from 
his forehead the perspiration which his rage had en 
gendered ; fixed the cocked hat on again ; and, turn 
ing to the undertaker, said, in a calmer voice : 

" Well ; what about the boy ?" 

" Oh !" replied the undertaker ; " why, you know, 
Mr. Bumble, I pay a good deal toward the poor's 
rates." 

" Hem !" said Mr. Bumble. " Well ?" 

"Well," replied the undertaker, "I was thinking 
that if I pay so much toward 'em, I've a right to get 
as much out of 'em as I can, Mr. Bumble ; and so 
and so I think I'll take the boy myself." 

Mr. Bumble grasped the undertaker by the arm, 
and led him into the building. Mr. Sowerberry was 
closeted with the board for five minutes, and it was 
arranged that Oliver should go to him that evening 
" upon liking " a phrase which means, in the case 
of a parish apprentice, that if the master find, upon 
a short trial, that he can get enough work out of a 
boy without putting too much food into him, he shall 
have him for a term of years, to do what he likes with. 

When little Oliver was taken before " the gentle 
men " that evening ; and informed that he was to go, 
that night, as general house-lad to a coffin-maker's ; 
and that if he complained of his situation, or ever 
came back to the parish again, he would be sent to 
sea, there to be drowned, or knocked on the head, as 
the case might be, he evinced so little emotion, that 
they by common consent pronounced him a hardened 
young rascal, and ordered Mr. Bumble to remove him 
forthwith. 

Now, although it was very natural that the board, 
of all people in the world, should feel in a great state 
of virtuous astonishment and horror at the smallest 
tokens of want of feeling on the part of any body, 
they were rather out, in this particular instance. 
The simple fact was, that Oliver, instead of possess 
ing too little feeling, possessed rather too much ; and 
was in a fair way of being reduced, for life, to a state 
of brutal stupidity and sullenness by the ill-usage he 
had received. He heard the news of his destination 
in perfect silence ; and, having had his luggage put 
into his hand which was not very difficult to carry, 
inasmuch as it was all comprised within the limits 
of a brown paper parcel, about half a foot square by 
three inches deep he pulled his cap over his eyes ; 
and once more attaching himself to Mr. Bumble's coat 
cuff, was led away by that dignitary to a new scene of 
suffering. 

For some time, Mr. Bumble drew Oliver along, 
without notice or remark ; for the beadle carried his 
head very erect, as a beadle always should : and, it 
being a windy day, little Oliver was completely en 
shrouded by the skirts of Mr. Bumble's coat as they 
blew open, and disclosed to great advantage his flap 
ped waistcoat and drab plush knee-breeches. As 
they drew near to their destination, however, Mr. 
Bumble thought it expedient to look down, and see 
that the boy was in good order for inspection by his 
new master : which he accordingly did, with a tit and 
becoming air of gracious patronage. 

" Oliver!" said Mr. Bumble. 



" Yes, sir," replied Oliver, in a low, tremulous voice. 

"Pull that cap off your eyes, and hold up your 
head, sir." 

Although Oliver did as he was desired, at once, 
and passed the back of his unoccupied hand briskly 
across his eyes, he left a tear in them when he looked 
up at his conductor. As Mr. Bumble gazed sternly 
upon him, it rolled down his cheek. It was followed 
by another, and another. The child made a strong 
effort, but it was an unsuccessful one. Withdrawing 
his other hand from Mr. Bumble's, he covered his face 
with both ; and wept until the tears sprung out from 
between his chin and bony fingers. 

" Well !" exclaimed Mr. Bumble, stopping short, 
and darting at his little charge a look of intense 
malignity. " Well ! Of all the ungratefullest, and 
worst - disposed boys as ever I see, Oliver, you are 
the" 

" No, no, sir," sobbed Oliver, clinging to the hand 
which held the well-known cane ; " no, no, sir ; I will 
be good indeed ; indeed, indeed I will, sir ! I am a 
very little boy, sir ; and it is so so : 

" So what ?" inquired Mr. Bumble, in amazement. 

" So lonely, sir ! So very lonely !" cried the child. 
" Every body hates me. Oh ! sir, don't, don't, pray, 
be cross to me !" The child beat his hand upon his 
heart ; and looked in his companion's face, with tears 
of real agony. 

Mr. Bumble regarded Oliver's piteous and helpless 
look, with some astonishment, for a few seconds ; 
hemmed three or four times in a husky manner ; and 
after muttering something about " that troublesome 
cough," bade Oliver dry his eyes and be a good boy. 
Then once more taking his hand, he walked on with 
him in silence. 

The undertaker, who had just put up the shutters 
of his shop, was making some entries in his day-book 
by the light of a most appropriate dismal candle, 
when Mr. Bumble entered. 

"Aha!" said the undertaker: looking up from the 
book, and pausing in the middle of a word ; " is that 
you, Bumble ?" 

" No one else, Mr. Sowerberry," replied the beadle. 
* Here ! I've brought the boy." Oliver made a bow. 

" Oh ! that's the boy, is it ?" said the undertaker, 
raising the candle above his head, to get a better 
view of Oliver. " Mrs. Sowerberry, will yon have 
the goodness to come here a moment, my dear ?" 

Mrs. Sowerberry emerged from a little room be 
hind the shop, and presented the form of a short, 
thin, squeezed -up woman, with a A r ixeuish counte 
nance. 

"My dear," said Mr. Sowerberry, deferentially, 
" this is the boy from the work-house that I told you 
of." Oliver bowed again. 

" Dear me !" said the undertaker's wife, " he's very 
small." 

" Why, he is rather small," replied Mr. Bumble : 
looking at Oliver as if it were his fault that he was 
no bigger ; " he is small. There's no denying it. But 
he'll grow, Mrs. Sowerberry he'll grow." 

"Ah! I dare say he will," replied the lady pettish 
ly, " on our victuals and our drink. I see no saving 
in parish children, not I ; for they always cost more 
to keep than they're worth. However, men always 
think they know best. There ! Get down stairs, lit- 



OLIVER TWIST. 



tie bag o' bones." With this, the undertaker's wife 
opened a side door, and pushed Oliver down a steep 
flight of stairs into a stone cell, damp and dark : 
forming the ante -room to the coal -cellar, and de 
nominated "kitchen:" wherein sat a slatternly girl, 
in shoes down at heel, and blue worsted stockings 
very much out of repair. 

" Here, Charlotte," said Mrs. Sowerberry, who had 
followed Oliver down, "give this boy some of the 
cold bits that were put by for Trip. He hasn't come 
home since the morning, so he may go without 'em. 
I dare say the boy isn't too dainty to eat 'em are 
you, boy ?" 

Oliver, whose eyea had glistened at the mention 
of meat, and who was trembling with eagerness to 
devour it, replied in the negative ; and a plateful of 
coarse broken victuals was set before him. 

I wish some well-fed philosopher, whose meat and 
drink turn to gall within him whose blood is ice, 
whose heart is iron could have seen Oliver Twist 
clutching at the dainty viands that the dog had neg 
lected. I wish he could have witnessed the horrible 
avidity with which Oliver tore the bits asunder with 
all the ferocity of famine. There is only one thing 
I should like better ; and that would be to see the 
Philosopher making the same sort of meal himself, 
with the same relish. 

" Well," said the undertaker's wife, when Oliver 
had finished his supper : which she had regarded in 
silent horror, and with fearful auguries of his future 
appetite : " have you done ?" 

There being nothing eatable within his reach, Oli 
ver replied in the affirmative. 

" Then come with me," said Mrs. Sowerberry : tak 
ing up a dim and dirty lamp, and leading the way 
up stairs ; " your bed's under the counter. You don't 
mind sleeping among the coffins, I suppose ? But it 
doesn't much matter whether you do or don't, for you 
can't sleep anywhere else. Come, don't keep me here 
all night !" 

Oliver lingered no longer, but meekly followed his 
new mistress. 



CHAPTEE V. . 

OLIVER MINGLES WITH NEW ASSOCIATES. GOING TO A 
FUNERAL FOR THE FIRST TIME, HE FORMS AN UNFA 
VORABLE NOTION OF HIS MASTER'S BUSINESS. 

k LIVER, being left to himself in the undertaker's 
shop, set the lamp down on a workman's bench, 
and gazed timidly about him with a feeling of awe 
and dread, which many people a good deal older than 
he will be at no loss to understand. An unfinished 
coffin on black tressels, which stood in the middle of 
the shop, looked so gloomy and death-like that a 
cold tremble came over him every time his eyes wan 
dered in the direction of the dismal object : from 
which he almost expected to see some frightful form 
slowly rear its head, to drive him mad with terror. 
Against the wall were ranged, in regular array, a 
long row of elm boards cut into the same shape : 
looking in the dim light, like high-shouldered ghosts 
with their hands in their breeches-pockets. Coffin- 
plates, elm-chips, bright-headed nails, and shreds of 
black cloth, lay scattered on the floor ; and the wall 



behind the counter was ornamented with a lively 
representation of two mutes in very stiff neckcloths, 
on duty at a large private door, with a hearse drawn 
by four black steeds, approaching in the distance. 
The shop was close and hot. The atmosphere seemed 
tainted with the smell of coffins. The recess beneath 
the counter in which his flock mattress was thrust, 
looked like a grave. 

Nor Avere these the only dismal feelings which de 
pressed Oliver. Ho was alone in a strange place ; 
and we all know how chilled and desolate the best 
of us will sometimes feel in such a situation. The 
boy had no friends to care for, or to care for him. 
The regret of no recent separation was fresh in his 
mind ; the absence of no loved and well-remembered 
face sank heavily into his heart. But his heart was 
heavy, notwithstanding ; and he wished, as he crept 
into his narrow bed, that that were his coffin, and 
that he could be lain in a calm and lasting sleep in 
the church-yard ground, with the tall grass waving 
gently above his head, and the sound of the old deep 
bell to soothe him in his sleep. 

Oliver was awakened in the morning, by a loud 
kicking at the outside of the shop-door : which, be 
fore he could huddle on his clothes, was repeated, in 
an angry and impetuous manner, about twenty-five 
times. When he began to undo the chain, the legs 
desisted, and a voice began. 

" Open the door, will yer ?" cried the voice which 
belonged to the legs which had kicked at the door. 

" I will, directly, sir," replied Oliver, undoing the 
chain, and turning the key. 

" I suppose yer the new boy, ain't yer ?" said the 
voice through the key-hole. 

" Yes, sir," replied Oliver. 

" How old are yer ?" inquired the voice. 

" Ten, sir," replied Oliver. 

" Then I'll whop yer when I get in," said the voice ; 
" you just see if I don't, that's all, my work'us brat !" 
and having made this obliging promise, the voice 
began to whistle. 

Oliver had been too often subjected to the proc 
ess to which the very expressive monosyllable just 
recorded bears reference, to entertain the smallest 
doubt that the owner of the voice, whoever he might 
be, would redeem his pledge, most honorably. He 
drew back the bolts with a trembling hand, and 
opened the door. 

For a second or two, Oliver glanced up the street, 
and down the street, and over the way : impressed 
with the belief that the unknown, who had addressed 
him through the key-hole, had walked a few paces 
off, to warm himself; for nobody did he see but a big 
charity-boy, sitting on a post in front of the house, 
eating a slice of bread and butter : which he cut into 
wedges, the size of his mouth, with a clasp-knife, and 
then consumed with great dexterity. 

" I beg your pardon, sir," said Oliver at length : 
seeing that no other visitor made his appearance; 
" did you knock f ' 

" I kicked," replied the charity-boy. 

" Did you want a coffin, sir f ' inquired Oliver, in 
nocently. 

At this the charity-boy looked monstrous fierce ; 
and said that Oliver would want one before long, if 
he cut jokes with his superiors in that way. 



NEW IDEA IN THE UNDERTAKING WAY. 



" Yer don't know who I am, I suppose, Work'us?" 
said the charity-boy, iii continuation : descending 
from the top of the post, meanwhile, with edifying- 
gravity. 

" No, sir," rejoined Oliver. 

" I'm Mister Noah Claypole," said the charity-boy, 
" and you're under me. Take down the shutters, yer 
idle young ruffian !" With this, Mr. Claypole admin 
istered a kick to Oliver, and entered the shop with a 
dignified air, which did him great credit. It is diffi 
cult for a large-headed, small-eyed yonth, of lumber 
ing make and heavy countenance, to look dignified 
under any circumstances ; but it is more especially 
so, when superadded to these personal attractions 
are a red nose and yellow smalls. 

Oliver, having taken down the shutters, and broken 
a pane of glass in his efforts to stagger away beneath 
the weight of the first one to a small court at the 
side of the house in which they were kept during the 
day, was graciously assisted by Noah : who having 
consoled him with the assurance that " he'd catch it," 
condescended to help him. Mr. Sowerberry came 
down soon after. Shortly afterward, Mrs. Sowerber 
ry appeared. Oliver having " caught it," in fulfill 
ment of Noah's prediction, followed that young gen 
tleman down the stairs to breakfast. 

" Come near the fire, Noah," said Charlotte. " I 
saved a nice little bit of bacon for you from master's 
breakfast. Oliver, shut that door at Mister Noah's 
back, and take them bits that I've put out on the 
cover of the bread-pan. There's your tea ; take it 
away to that box, and drink it there, and make haste, 
for they'll want you to mind the shop. D'ye hear ?" 

" D'ye hear, Work'us ?" said Noah Claypole. 

" Lor, Noah !" said Charlotte, " what a rum creature 
you are ! Why don't you let the boy alone ?" 

" Let him alone !" said Noah. " Why every body 
lets him alone enough, for the matter of that. Nei 
ther his father nor his mother will ever interfere with 
him. All his relations let him have his own way 
pretty well. Eh, Charlotte ? He ! he ! he !" 

" Oh, you queer soul !" said Charlotte, bursting into 
a hearty laugh, in which she was joined by Noah ; 
after which they both looked scornfully at poor Oli 
ver Twist, as he sat shivering on the box in the cold 
est corner of the room, and ate the stale pieces which 
had been specially reserved for him. 

Noah was a charity-boy, but not a work-house or 
phan. No chance child was he, for he could trace 
his genealogy all the way back to his parents, who 
lived hard by; his mother being a washer-woman, 
and his father a drunken soldier, discharged with a 
wooden leg, and a diurnal pension of twopence-half 
penny and an unstateable fraction. The shop-boys 
in the neighborhood had long been in the habit of 
branding Noah, in the public streets, with the igno 
minious epithets of " leathers," " charity," and the 
like ; and Noah had borne them without reply. But, 
now that fortune had cast in his way a nameless or 
phan, at whom even the meanest could point the fin 
ger of scorn, he retorted on him with interest. This 
affords charming food for contemplation. It shows 
us what a beautiful thing human nature may be made 
to be ; and how impartially the same amiable quali 
ties are developed in the finest lord and the dirtiest 
charity-boy. 



Oliver had been sojourning at the undertaker's 
some three weeks or a month. Mr. and Mrs. Sower- 
berry the shop being shut up were taking their 
supper in the little back-parlor, when Mr. Sowerber 
ry, after several deferential glances at his wife, said, 

" My dear : He was going to say more ; but, 
Mrs. Sowerberry looking up, with a peculiar unpro- 
pitious aspect, he stopped short. 

"Well," said Mrs. Sowerberry, sharply. 

" Nothing, my dear, nothing," said Mr. Sowerberry. 

" Ugh, you brute !" 4 said Mrs. Sowerberry. 

" Not at all, my dear," said Mr. Sowerberry, hum 
bly. " I thought you didn't want to hear, my dear. 
I was only going to say 

" Oh, don't tell me what you were going to say," 
interposed Mrs. Sowerberry. " I am nobody ; don't 
consult me, pray. / don't want to intrude upon your 
secrets." As Mrs. Sowerberry said this, she gave 
an hysterical laugh, which threatened violent conse 
quences. 

" But, my dear," said Sowerberry, " I want to ask 
your advice." 

" No, no, don't ask mine," replied Mrs. Sowerber 
ry, in an aifecting manner : " ask somebody else's." 
Here there was another hysterical laugh, which 
frightened Mr. Sowerberry very much. This is a 
very common and much-approved matrimonial course 
of treatment, which is often very effective. It at 
once reduced Mr. Sowerberry to begging, as a spe 
cial favor, to be allowed to say what Mrs. Sowerberry 
was most curious to hear. After a short altercation 
of less than three-quarters of an hour's duration, the 
permission was most graciously conceded. 

" It's only about young Twist, my dear," said Mr. 
Sowerberry. "A very good-looking boy, that, my 
dear." 

" He need be, for he eats enough," observed the 
lady. 

" There's an expression of melancholy in his face, 
my dear," resumed Mr. Sowerberry, " which is very 
interesting. He would make a delightful mute, my 
love." 

Mrs. Sowerberry looked up with an expression of 
considerable wonderment. Mr. Sowerberry remark 
ed it ; and, without allowing time for any observa 
tion on the good lady's part, proceeded. 

" I don't mean a regular mute to attend grown-up 
people, my dear, but only for children's practice. It 
would be very new to have a mute in proportion, my 
dear. You may depend upon it, it would have a su 
perb effect." 

Mrs. Sowerberry, who had a good deal of taste in 
the undertaking way, was much struck by the nov 
elty of this idea ; but, as it would have been com 
promising her dignity to have said so, under existing 
circumstances, she merely inquired, with much sharp 
ness, why such an obvious suggestion had not pre 
sented itself to her husband's mind before ? Mr. 
Sowerberry rightly construed this as an acquies 
cence in his proposition ; it was speedily determined, 
therefore, that Oliver should be at once initial r< I 
into the mysteries of the trade ; and, with this view, 
that he should accompany his master on the very 
next occasion of his services being required. 

The occasion was not long in coining. Half an 
hour after breakfast next morning, Mr. Bumble en- 



OLIVES TWIST. 



tered the shop ; and supporting his cane against the 
counter, drew forth his large leathern pocket-book : 
from which he selected a small scrap of paper, which 
he handed over to Sowerberry. 

" Aha," said the undertaker, glancing over it with 
a lively countenance ; " an order for a coffin, eh ?" 

"For a coffin first, and a porochial funeral after 
ward," replied Mr. Bumble, fastening the strap of 
the leathern pocket-book, which, like himself, was 
very corpulent. 

" Bayton," said the undertaker, looking from the 
scrap of paper to Mr. Bumble. " I never heard the 
name before." 

Bumble shook his head, as he replied, " Obstinate 
people, Mr. Sowerberry ; very obstinate. Proud, too, 
I'm afraid, sir." 

" Proud, eh ?" exclaimed Mr. Sowerberry, with a 
sneer. " Come, that's too much." 

"Oh, it's sickening," replied the beadle. "Anti- 
monial, Mr. Sowerberry !" 

" So it is," acquiesced the undertaker. 

"We only heard of the family the night before 
last," said the beadle; "and we shouldn't have 
known any thing about them, then, only a woman 
who lodges in the same house made an application 
to the porochial committee for them to send the po 
rochial surgeon to see a woman as was very bad. 
He had gone out to dinner ; but his 'prentice (which 
is a very clever lad) sent 'em some medicine in a 
blacking-bottle, off-hand." 

"Ah, there's promptness," said the undertaker. 

" Promptness, indeed !" replied the beadle. " But 
what's the consequence ; what's the ungrateful be 
havior of these rebels, sir ? Why, the husband sends 
back word that the medicine won't suit his wife's 
complaint, and so she sha'n't take it says she sha'n't 
take it, sir. Good, strong, wholesome medicine, as 
was given with great success to two Irish laborers 
and a coal-heaver only a week before sent 'em for 
nothing, with a blacking-bottle in and he sends 
back word that she sha'n't take it, sir !" 

As the atrocity presented itself to Mr. Bumble's 
mind in full force, he struck the counter sharply 
with his cane, and became flushed with indignation. 

" Well," said the undertaker, " I ne ver -did " 

" Never did, sir !" ejaculated the beadle. " No, nor 
nobody never did ; but, now she's dead, we've got to 
bury her ; and that's the direction ; and the sooner 
it's done, the better." 

Thus saying, Mr. Bumble put on his cocked hat 
wrong side first, in a fever of parochial excitement ; 
and flounced out of the shop. 

" Why, he was so angry, Oliver, that he forgot 
even to ask after you !" said Mr. Sowerberry, looking 
after the beadle as he strode down the street. 

" Yes, sir," replied Oliver, who had carefully kept 
himself out of sight during the interview ; and who 
was shaking from head to foot at the mere recollec 
tion of the sound of Mr. Bumble's voice. He needn't 
have taken the trouble to shrink from Mr. Bumble's 
glance, however ; for that functionary, on whom the 
prediction of the gentleman in the white waistcoat 
had made a very strong impression, thought that 
now the undertaker had got Oliver upon trial the 
subject was better avoided, until such time as he 
should be firmly bound for seven years, and all dan 



ger of his being returned upon the hands of the par 
ish should be thus effectually and legally overcome. 

"Well," said Mr. Sowerberry, taking up his hat, 
" the sooner this job is done, the better. Noah, look 
after the shop. Oliver, put on your cap and come 
with me." Oliver obeyed, and followed his master 
on his professional mission. 

They walked on for some time through the most 
crowded and densely inhabited part of the town ; 
and then, striking down a narrow street more dirty 
and miserable than any they had yet passed through, 
paused to look for the house which was the object 
of their search. The houses on either side were high 
and large, but very old, and tenanted by people of 
the poorest class : as their neglected appearance 
would have sufficiently denoted, without the concur 
rent testimony afforded by the squalid looks of the 
few men and women who, with folded arms and bod 
ies half doubled, occasionally skulked along. A great 
many of the tenements had shop-fronts ; but these 
were fast closed, and mouldering away; only the 
upper rooms being inhabited. Some houses, which 
had become insecure from age and decay, were pre 
vented from falling into the street by huge beams 
of wood reared against the walls, and firmly plant 
ed in the road; but even these crazy dens seemed 
to have been selected as the nightly haunts of some 
houseless wretches, for many of the rough boards 
which supplied the place of door and window were 
wrenched from their positions, to afford an aperture 
wide enough for the passage of a human body. The 
kennel was stagnant and filthy. The very rats, 
which here and there lay putrefying in its rotten 
ness, were hideous with famine. 

There was neither knocker nor bell-handle at the 
open door where Oliver and his master stopped ; so, 
groping his way cautiously through the dark pas 
sage, and bidding Oliver keep close to him and not 
be afraid, the undertaker mounted to the top of the 
first flight of stairs. Stumbling against a door on 
the landing, he rapped at it with his knuckles. 

It was opened by a young girl of thirteen or four 
teen. The undertaker at once saw enough of what 
the room contained, to know it was the apartment 
to which he had been directed. He stepped in ; Ol 
iver followed him. 

There was no fire in the room; but a man was 
crouching, mechanically, over the empty stove. An 
old woman, too, had drawn a low stool to the cold 
hearth, and was sitting beside him. There were 
some ragged children in another corner; and in a 
small recess, opposite the door, there lay upon the 
ground something covered with an old blanket. Ol 
iver shuddered as he cast his eyes toward the place, 
and crept involuntarily closer to his master; for 
though it was covered up, the boy felt that it was a 
corpse. 

The man's face was thin and very pale ; his hair 
and beard were grizzly; his eyes were bloodshot. 
The old woman's face was wrinkled ; her two remain 
ing teeth protruded over her under lip ; and her eyes 
were bright and piercing. Oliver was afraid to look 
at either her or the man. They seemed so like the 
rats he had seen outside. 

" Nobody shall go near her," said the man, start 
ing fiercely up, as the undertaker approached the re- 



THANKLESS PAUPERISM, 



23 



cess. "Keep back! Damn you, keep back, if you've 
a life to lose !" 

"Nonsense, my good man," said the undertaker, 
who was pretty well used to misery in all its shapes. 
" Nonsense !" 

" I tell you," said the man, clenching his hands, 
and stamping furiously on the floor " I tell you I 
won't have her put into the ground. She couldn't 
rest there. The worms would worry her not eat 
her she is so worn away." 

The undertaker offered no reply to this raving; 
but producing a tape from his pocket, knelt down 
for a moment by the side of the body. 

"Ah !" said the man : bursting into tears, and sink 
ing on his knees at the feet of the dead woman ; 
" kneel down, kneel down kneel round her, every 
one of you, and mark my words ! I say she was 
starved to death. I never knew how bad she was, 
till the fever came upon her; and then her bones 
were starting through the skin. There was neither 
fire nor candle ; she died in the dark in the dark ! 
She couldn't even see her children's faces, though we 
heard her gasping out their names. I begged for her 
in the streets ; and they sent me to prison. When I 
came back, she was dying ; and all the blood in my 
heart has dried up, for they starved her to death. I 
swear it before the God that saw it ! They starved 
her !" He twined his hands in his hair ; and, with a 
loud scream, rolled groveling upon the floor : his eyes 
fixed, and the foam covering his lips. 

The terrified children cried bitterly ; but the old 
woman, who had hitherto remained as quiet as if she 
had been wholly deaf to all that passed, menaced 
them into silence. Having unloosed the cravat of 
the man who still remained extended on the ground, 
she tottered toward the undertaker. 

" She was my daughter," said the old woman, nod 
ding her head in the direction of the corpse, and 
speaking with an idiotic leer, more ghastly than even 
the presence of death in snch a place. " Lord, Lord ! 
Well, it is strange that I who gave birth to her, and 
was a woman then, should be alive and merry now, 
and she lying there : so cold and stiff! Lord, Lord ! 
to think of it ; it's as good as a play as good as a 
play!" 

As the wretched creature mumbled and chuckled 
in her hideous merriment, the undertaker turned to 
go away. 

" Stop, stop !" said the old woman in a loud whis 
per. " Will she be buried to-morrow, or next day, 
or to-night ? I laid her out ; and I must walk, you 
know. Send me a large cloak : a good warm one : 
for it is bitter cold. We should have cake and wine, 
too, before we go ! Never mind ; send some bread 
only a loaf of bread and a cup of water. Shall we 
have some bread, dear ?" she said eagerly, catching 
at the undertaker's coat, as he once more moved to 
ward the door. 

" Yes, yes," said the undertaker, " of course. Any 
thing you like !" He disengaged himself from the old 
woman's grasp ; and, drawing Oliver after him, hur 
ried away. 

The next day (the family having been meanwhile 
relieved with a half-quartern loaf and a piece of 
cheese, left with them by Mr. Bumble himself), Oli 
ver and his master returned to the miserable abode ; 



where Mr. Bumble had already arrived, accompanied 
by four men from the work-house, who were to act as 
bearers. An old black cloak had been thrown over 
the rags of the old woman and the man ; and the bare 
coffin having been screwed down, was hoisted on the 
shoulders of the bearers, and carried into the street. 

" Now you must put your best leg foremost, old 
lady !" whispered Sowerberry in the old woman's ear ; 
"w T e are rather late; and it won't do to keep the 
clergyman waiting. Move on, my men as quick 
as you like !" 

Thus directed, the bearers trotted on under their 
light burden; and the two mourners kept as near 
them as they could. Mr. Bumble and Sowerberry 
walked at a good smart pace in front ; and Oliver, 
whose legs were not so long as his master's, ran by 
the side. 

There was not so great a necessity for hurrying as 
Mr. Sowerberry had anticipated, however ; for when 
they reached the obscure corner of the church-yard in 
which the nettles grew, and where the parish graves 
were made, the clergyman had not arrived ; and the 
clerk, who was sitting by the vestry-room fire, seemed 
to think it by no means improbable that it might be 
an hour or so before he came. So they put the bier 
on the brink of the grave ; and the two mourners 
waited patiently in the damp clay, with a cold rain 
drizzling down, while the ragged boys whom the 
spectacle had attracted into the church-yard played 
a noisy game at hide-and-seek among the tomb 
stones, or varied their amusements by jumping back 
ward and forward over the coffin. Mr. Sowerberry 
and Bumble, being personal friends of the clerk, sat 
by the fire with him, and read the paper. 

At length, after a lapse of something more than an 
hour, Mr. Bumble, and Sowerberry, and the clerk, 
were seen running toward the grave. Immediately 
afterward, the clergyman appeared, putting on his 
surplice as he came along. Mr. Bumble then thrash 
ed a boy or two, to keep up appearances ; and the 
reverend gentleman, having read as much of the bu 
rial service as could be compressed into four minutes, 
gave his surplice to the clerk, and walked away again. 

" Now, Bill !" said Sowerberry to the grave-digger. 
"Fill up!" 

It was no very difficult task ; for the grave was so 
full, that the uppermost coffin was within a few feet 
of the surface. The grave-digger shoveled in the 
earth ; stamped it loosely down with his feet ; shoul 
dered his spade ; and walked off, followed by the 
boys, who murmured very loud complaints at the fun 
being over so soon. 

" Come, my good fellow !" said Bumble, tapping 
the man on the back. " They want to shut up the 
yard." 

The man, who had never once moved since he had 
taken his station by the grave-side, started, raised 
his head, stared at the person who had addressed 
him, walked forward for a few paces, and fell down 
in a swoon. The crazy old woman was too much oc 
cupied in bewailing the loss of her cloak (which the 
undertaker had taken off) to pay him any attention ; 
so they threw a can of cold water over him; and 
when he came to, saw him safely out of the church 
yard, locked the gate, and departed on their different 
ways. 



OLIVER TWIST. 



" Well, Oliver," said Sowerberry, a.s they walked 
home, " how do you like it ?" 

" Pretty well, thank you, sir," replied Oliver, with 
considerable hesitation. " Not very much, sir.'^ 

"Ah, you'll get used to it in time, Oliver," said 
Sowerberry. " Nothing when vou are used to it, my 
boy." 

Oliver wondered, in his own mind, whether it had 
taken a very long time to get Mr. Sowerberry used 
to it. But he thought it better not to ask the ques 
tion ; and walked back to the shop, thinking over 
all he had seen and heard. 



CHAPTER VI. 

OLIVER, BEING GOADED BY THE TAUNTS OF NOAH, 
BOUSES INTO ACTION, AND RATHER ASTONISHES HIM. 

TlHE month's trial over, Oliver was formally ap 
prenticed. It was a nice sickly season just at 
this time. In commercial phrase, coffins were look 
ing up ; and, in the course of a few weeks, Oliver ac 
quired a great deal of experience. The success of Mr. 
Sowerberry's ingenious speculation exceeded even his 
most sanguine hopes. The oldest inhabitants recol 
lected no period at which measles had been so prev 
alent, or so fatal to infant existence ; and many were 
the mournful processions which little Oliver headed, 
in a hat-band reaching down to his knees, to the in 
describable admiration and emotion of all the- moth 
ers in the town. As Oliver accompanied his master 
in most of his adult expeditious, too, in order that he 
might acquire that equanimity of demeanor and full 
command of nerve which are essential to a finished 
undertaker, he had many opportunities of observing 
the beautiful resignation and fortitude with which 
some strong-minded people bear their trials and 
losses. 

For instance ; when Sowerberry had an order for 
the burial of some rich old lady or gentleman, who 
was surrounded by a great number of nephews and 
nieces, who had been perfectly inconsolable during 
the previous illness, and whose grief had been wholly 
irrepressible even on the most public occasions, they 
would be as happy among themselves as need be 
quite cheerful and contented conversing together 
with as much freedom and gayety, as if nothing 
whatever had happened to disturb them. Husbands, 
too, bore the loss of their wives with the most heroic 
calmness. Wives, again, put on weeds for their hus 
bands, as if, so far from grieving in the garb of sor 
row, they had made up their minds to render it as 
becoming and attractive as possible. It was observ 
able, too, that ladies and gentlemen who were in pas 
sions of anguish during the ceremony of interment, 
recovered almost as soon as they reached home, and 
became quite composed before the tea-drinking was 
over. All this was very pleasant and improving to 
see ; and Oliver beheld it with great admiration. 

That Oliver Twist was moved to resignation by 
the example of these good people, I can not, although 
I am his biographer, undertake to affirm with any 
degree of confidence ; but I can most distinctly say, ! 
that for many months he continued meekly to sub- ; 
mit to the domination and ill-treatment of Noah 



Claypole : who used him far worse than before, now 
that his jealousy was roused by seeing the new boy 
promoted to the black stick and hat-band, while he, 
the old one, remained stationary in the muffin-cap 
and leathers. Charlotte treated him ill, because 
Noah did ; and Mrs. Sowerberry was his decided en 
emy, because Mr. Sowerberry was disposed to be his 
friend ; so, between these three on one side, and a 
glut of funerals on the other, Oliver was not alto 
gether as comfortable as the hungry pig was when 
he was shut up, by mistake, in the grain department 
of a brewery. 

And now I come to a very important passage in 
Oliver's history ; for I have to record an act, slight 
and unimportant perhaps in appearance, but which 
indirectly produced a material change in all his fu 
ture prospects and proceedings. 

One day, Oliver and Noah had descended into the 
kitchen at the usual dinner-hour, to banquet upon a 
small joint of mutton a pound and a half of the 
worst end of the neck when Charlotte being called 
out of the way, there ensued a brief interval of time, 
which Noah Claypole, being hungry and vicious, con 
sidered he could not possibly devote to a worthier 
purpose than aggravating and tantalizing young Ol 
iver Twist. 

Intent upon this innocent amusement, Noah put 
his feet on the table-cloth ; and pulled Oliver's hair ; 
and twitched his ears; and expressed his opinion 
that he was a " sneak ;" and furthermore announced 
his intention of coming to see him hanged, whenever 
that desirable event should take place ; and entered 
upon various other topics of petty annoyance, like a 
malicious and ill-conditioned charity-boy as he was. 
But, none of these taunts producing the desired ef 
fect of making Oliver cry, Noah attempted to be 
more facetious still ; and in this attempt, did what 
many small wits, with far greater reputations than 
Noah, sometimes do to this day, when they want to 
be funny. He got rather personal. 

" Work'us," said Noah, " how's your mother ?" 

"She's dead," replied Oliver; "don't you say any 
thing about her to me !" 

Oliver's color rose as he said this; he breathed 
quickly ; and there was a curious working of the 
mouth and nostrils, which Mr. Claypole thought 
must be the immediate precursor of a violent fit of 
crying. Under this impression he returned to the 
charge. 

" What did she die of, Work'us ?" said Noah. 

"Of a broken heart, some of our old nurses told 
me," replied Oliver: more as if he were talking to 
himself than answering Noah. "I think I know 
what it must be to die of that !" 

"Tol de rol lol lol, right fol lairy, Work'us," said 
Noah, as a tear rolled down Oliver's cheek. " What's 
set you a sniveling now ?" 

"Not you" replied Oliver, hastily brushing the 
tear away. " Don't think it." 

" Oh, not me, eh ?" sneered Noah. 

" No, not you," replied Oliver, sharply. " There, 
that's enough. Don't say any thing more to me 
about her ; you'd better not !" 

"Better not!" exclaimed Noah. "Well! Better 
not ! Work'us, don't be impudent. Your mother, 
too ! She was a nice 'un, she was. Oh, Lor !" And 



MURDER. 



here Noah nodded his head expressively ; and curled 
np as much of his small red nose as muscular action 
could collect together for the occasion. 

" Yer know, Work'us," continued Noah, embolden 
ed by Oliver's silence, and speaking in a jeering tone 
of affected pity of all tones the most annoying 
" Yer know, Work'us, it can't be helped now ; and of 
course yer couldn't help it then ; and I'm very sorry 
for it ; and I'm sure we all are, and pity yer very 
much. But yer must know, Work'us, yer mother 
was a regular right-down bad 'un." 

" What did you say ?" inquired Oliver, looking up 
very quickly. 

"A regular right-down bad 'un, Work'us," replied 



His breast heaved ; his attitude was erect ; his eye 
bright and vivid ; his whole person changed, as he 
stood glaring over the cowardly tormentor who now 
lay crouching at his feet ; and defied him with an 
energy he had never known before. 

" He'll murder me !" blubbered Noah. " Charlotte ! 
missis! Here's the new boy a murdering of me! 
Help ! help ! Oliver's gone mad ! Char lotte !" 

Noah's shouts were responded to by a loud scream 
from Charlotte and a louder from Mrs. Sowerberry ; 
the former of whom rushed into the kitchen by a 
side door, while the latter paused on the staircase 
till she was quite certain that it was consistent with 
the preservation of human life to come farther down. 




OLIVER BATHES ASTONIbllBS NOA1I. 



Noah, coolly. " And it's a great deal better, Work'us, 
that she died when she did, or else she'd have been 
hard laboring in Bridewell, or transported, or hung ; 
which is more likely than either, isn't it ?" 

Crimson with fury, Oliver started up; overthrew 
the chair and table; seized Noah by the throat; 
shook him, in the violence of his rage, till his teeth 
chattered in his head ; and, collecting his whole force 
into one heavy blow, felled him to the ground. 

A minute ago, the boy had looked the quiet, mild, 
dejected creature that harsh treatment had made 
him. But his spirit was roused at last; the cruel 
insult to his dead mother had set his blood on fire. 



" Oh, yon little wretch !" screamed Charlotte, seiz 
ing Oliver with her utmost force, which was about 
equal to that of a moderately strong man in partic 
ularly good training. " Oh, you little un-grate-ful, 
mur-de-rous, hor-rid villain !" And between every 
syllable Charlotte gave Oliver a blow with all her 
might, accompanying it with a scream for the bene 
fit of society. 

Charlotte's fist was by no means a light one ; but, 
lest it should not be effectual in calming Oliver's 
wrath, Mrs. Sowerberry plunged into the kitchen, 
and assisted to hold him with one hand, while she 
scratched his face with the other. In this favorable 



OLIVER TWIST. 



position of affairs, Noah rose from the ground, and 
pommeled him behind. 

This was rather too violent exercise to last long. 
When they were all wearied out, and could tear and 
beat no longer, they dragged Oliver, struggling and 
shouting, but nothing daunted, into the dust-cellar, 
and there locked him up. This being done, Mrs. 
Sowerberry sunk into a chair, and burst into tears. 

"Bless her, she's going off!" said Charlotte. "A 
glass of water, Noah, dear. Make haste !" 

" Oh ! Charlotte," said Mrs. Sowerberry : speaking 
as well as she could, through a deficiency of breath, 
and a sufficiency of cold water, which Noah had 
poured over her head and shoulders. "Oh! Char 
lotte, what a mercy we have not all been murdered 
in our beds !" 

" Ah ! mercy indeed, ma'am," was the reply. " I 
only hope this'll teach master not to have any more 
of these dreadful creaturs, that are born to be mur 
derers and robbers from their very cradle. Poor 
Noah ! he was all but killed, ma'am, when I come in." 

" Poor fellow !" said Mrs. Sowerberry, looking pit- 
eously on the charity-boy. 

Noah, whose top waistcoat - button might have 
been somewhere on a level with the crown of Ol 
iver's head, rubbed his eyes with the inside of his 
wrists while this commiseration was bestowed upon 
him, and performed some affecting tears and sniffs. 

" What's to be done !" exclaimed Mrs. Sowerberry. 
" Your master's not at home ; there's not a man in 
the house, and he'll kick that door down in ten min 
utes." Oliver's vigorous plunges against the bit of 
timber in question rendered this occurrence highly 
probable. 

" Dear, dear ! I don't know, ma'am," said Charlotte, 
" unless we send for the police officers." 

" Or the millingtary," suggested Mr. Claypole. 

" No, no," said Mrs. Sowerberry : bethinking her 
self of Oliver's old friend. " Run to Mr. Bumble, 
Noah, and tell him to come here directly, and not to 
lose a minute ; never mind your cap ! Make haste ! 
You can hold a knife to that black eye, as you run 
along. It'll keep the swelling down." 

Noah stopped to make no reply, but started off at 
his fullest speed ; and very much it astonished the 
people who were out walking, to see a charity-boy 
tearing through the streets pell-mell, with no cap on 
his head, and a clasp-knife at his eye. 



CHAPTER VII. 

OLIVER CONTINUES REFRACTORY. 

"VfOAH CLAYPOLE ran along the streets at Ms 
\ swiftest pace, and paused not once for breath 
until he reached the work-house gate. Having rest 
ed here, for a minute or so, to collect a good burst of 
sobs and an imposing show of tears and terror, he 
knocked loudly at the wicket ; and presented such a 
rueful face to the aged pauper who opened it, that 
even he, who saw nothing but rueful faces about 
him at the best of times, started back in astonish 
ment. 

" Why, what's the matter with the boy !" said the 
old pauper. 



" Mr. Bumble ! Mr. Bumble !" cried Noah, with well- 
affected dismay : and in tones so loud and agitated, 
that they not only caught the ear of Mr. Bumble 
himself, who happened to be hard by, but alarmed 
him so much that he rushed into the yard without 
his cocked hat which is a very curious and remark 
able circumstance : as showing that even a beadle, 
acted upon by a sudden and powerful impulse, may 
be afflicted with a momentary visitation of loss of 
self-possession, and forgetfuluess of personal dignity. 

" Oh, Mr. Bumble, sir !" said Noah: " Oliver, sir 
Oliver has " 

" What ? What ?" interposed Mr. Bumble, with a 
gleam of pleasure in his metallic eyes. "Not run 
away ; he hasn't run away, has he, Noah ?" 

" No, sir, no. Not run away, sir, but he's turned 
wicious," replied Noah. " He tried to murder me, 
sir ; and then he tried to murder Charlotte ; and 
then missis. Oh! what dreadful pain it is! Such 
agony, please, sir!" And here Noah writhed and 
twisted his body into an extensive variety of eel- 
like positions ; thereby giving Mr. Bumble to under 
stand that, from the violent and sanguinary onset 
of Oli^r Twist, he had sustained severe internal in 
jury and damage, from which he was at that mo 
ment suffering the acutest torture. 

When Noah saw that the intelligence he commu 
nicated perfectly paralyzed Mr. Bumble, he imparted 
additional effect thereunto, by bewailing his dread 
ful wounds ten times louder than before ; and when 
he observed a gentleman in a white w r aistcoat cross 
ing the yard, he was more tragic in his lamentations 
than ever : rightly conceiving it highly expedient to 
attract the notice, and rouse the indignation, of the 
gentleman aforesaid. 

The gentleman's notice was very soon attracted ; 
for he had not walked three paces, when he turned 
angrily round, and inquired what that young cur 
was howling for, and why Mr. Bumble did not favor 
Mm with something which would render the series 
of vocular exclamations so designated an involun 
tary process ? 

" It's a poor boy from the free-school, sir," replied 
Mr. Bumble, "who has been nearly murdered all 
but murdered, sir by young Twist." 

" By Jove !" exclaimed the gentleman in the white 
waistcoat, stopping short. " I knew it ! I felt a 
strange presentiment from the very first, that that 
audacious young savage would come to be hung !" 

" He has likewise attempted, sir, to murder the fe 
male servant," said Mr. Bumble, with a face of ashy 
paleness. 

" And his missis," interposed Mr. Claypole. 

"And his master, too, I think you said, Noah?" 
added Mr. Bumble. 

" No ! he's out, or he would have murdered him," 
replied Noah. " He said he wanted to." 

" Ah ! Said he wanted to, did he, my boy ?" in 
quired the gentleman in the white waistcoat. 

" Yes, sir," replied Noah. " And please, sir, missis 
wants to know whether Mr. Bumble can spare time 
to step up there, directly, and flog him 'cause mas 
ter's out." 

" Certainly, my boy ; certainly," said the gentle 
man in the white waistcoat : smiling benignly, and 
patting Noah's head, wMch was about three inches 



MISCHIEVOUS EFFECTS OF MEAT. 



27 



higher than his own. " You're a good boy a very 
good boy. Here's a penny for you. Bumble, just 
step up to Sowerberry's with your cane, and see 
what's best to be done. Don't spare him, Bumble." 

" No, I will not, sir," replied the beadle : adjusting 
the wax-end which was twisted round the bottom 
of his cane, for purposes of parochial flagellation. 

" Tell Sowerbeny not to spare him either. They'll 
never do any thing with him, without stripes and 
bruises," said the gentleman in the white waistcoat. 

" I'll take care, sir," replied the beadle. And the 
cocked hat and cane having been, by this time, ad 
justed to their owner's satisfaction, Mr. Bumble and 
Noah Claypole betook themselves with all speed to 
the undertaker's shop. 

Here the position of affairs had not at all improved. 
Sowerberry had not yet returned, and Oliver con 
tinued to kick, with undiminished vigor, at the cellar- 
door. The accounts of his ferocity, as related by Mrs. 
Sowerberry and Charlotte, were of so startling a na 
ture, that Mr. Bumble judged it prudent to parley, 
before opening the door. With this view he gave a 
kick at the outside, by way of prelude ; and then, ap 
plying his mouth to the key-hole, said, in a deep and 
impressive tone : 

"Oliver!" 

" Come ; you let me out !" replied Oliver, from the 
inside. 

" Do you know this here voice, Oliver '?" said Mr. 
Bumble. 

" Yes," replied Oliver. 

" Ain't you afraid of it, sir ? Ain't you a-trembling 
while I speak, sir ?" said Mr. Bumble. 

" No !" replied Oliver, boldly. 

An answer so different from the one he had expect 
ed to elicit, and was in the habit of receiving, stag 
gered Mr. Bumble not a little. He stepped back from 
the key-hole, drew himself up to his full height, and 
looked from one to another of the three by-standers, 
in mute astonishment. 

" Oh, you know, Mr. Bumble, he must be mad." 
.said Mrs. Sowerberry. " No boy in half his senses 
could. venture to speak so to you." 

" It's not Madness, ma'am," replied Mr. Bumble, 
after a few moments of deep meditation. "It's 
Meat." 

" What ?" exclaimed Mrs. Sowerberry. 

" Meat, ma'am, meat," replied Bumble, with stern 
emphasis. " You've overfed him, ma'am. You've 
raised a artificial soul and spirit in him, ma'am, un 
becoming a person of his condition : as the board, 
Mrs. Sowerberry, who are practical philosophers, will 
tell you. What have paupers to do with soul or 
spirit ? It's quite enough that we let 'em have live 
bodies. If you had kept the boy on gruel, ma'am, 
this would never have happened." 

" Dear, dear !" ejaculated Mrs. Sowerberry, piously 
raising her eyes to the kitchen ceiling ; " this comes 
of being liberal !" 

The liberality of Mrs. Sowerberry to Oliver had 
consisted in a profuse bestowal upon him of all the 
dirty odds and ends which nobody else would eat ; so 
there was a great deal of meekness and self-devotion 
in he* voluntarily remaining under Mr. Bumble's 
heavy accusation. Of which, to do her justice, she 
was wholly innocent in thought, word, or deed. 



"Ah!" said Mr. Bumble, when the lady brought 
her eyes down to earth again ; " the only thing that 
can be done now, that I know of, is to leave him in 
the cellar for a day or so, till he's a little starved 
down ; and then to take him out, and keep bim on 
gruel all through his apprenticeship. He comes of 
a bad family. Excitable natures, Airs. Sowerberry ! 
Both the nurse and doctor said that that mother of 
his made her way here, against difficulties and pain 
that would have killed any well-disposed woman, 
weeks before." 

At this point of Mr. Bumble's discourse, Oliver, 
just hearing enough to know that some new allu 
sion was being made to his mother, recommenced 
kicking, with a violence that rendered every other 
sound inaudible. Sowerberry returned at this junct 
ure. . Oliver's offense having been explained to him, 
with such exaggerations as the ladies thought best 
calculated to rouse his ire, he unlocked the cellar- 
door in a twinkling, and dragged his rebellious ap 
prentice out by the collar. 

Oliver's clothes had been torn in the beating he 
had received; his face was bruised and scratched; 
and his hair scattered over his forehead. The angry 
flush had not disappeared, however; and when he 
was pulled out of his prison, he scowled boldly on 
Noah, and looked quite undismayed. 

" Now, you are a nice young fellow, ain't you ?" 
said Sowerberry ; giving Oliver a shake, and a box 
on the ear. 

" He called my mother names," replied Oliver. 

" Well, and what if he did, you little ungrateful 
wretch ?" said Mrs. Sowerberry. " She deserved 
what he said, and worse." 

" She didn't," said Oliver. 

" She did," said Mrs. Sowerbeny. 

" It's a lie !" said Oliver. 

Mrs. Sowerberry burst into a flood of tears. 

This flood of tears left Mr. Sowerberry no alterna 
tive. If he had hesitated for one instant to punish 
Oliver most severely, it must be quite clear to every 
experienced reader that he would have been, accord 
ing to all precedents in disputes of matrimony es 
tablished, a brute, an unnatural husband, an insult 
ing creature, a base imitation of a man, and various 
other agreeable characters too numerous for recital 
within the limits of this chapter. To do him justice, 
he was, as far as his power went it was not very 
extensive kindly disposed toward the boy; per 
haps, because it was his interest to be so ; perhaps, 
because his wife disliked him. The flood of tears, 
however, left him no resource ; so he at once gave 
him a drubbing, which satisfied even Mrs. Sowerber 
ry herself, and rendered Mr. Bumble's subsequent ap 
plication of the parochial cane rather unnecessary. 
For the rest of the day, he was shut up in the back 
kitchen, in company with a pump and a slice of 
bread ; and, at night, Mrs. Sowerberry, after making 
various remarks outside the door, by no means com 
plimentary to the memory of his mother, looked into 
the room, and, amidst the jeers and pointings of Noah 
and Charlotte, ordered him up stairs to his dismal 
bed. 

It was not until he was left alone in the silence 
and stillness of the gloomy workshop of the under 
taker, that Oliver gave way to the feelings which 



28 



OLIVER TWIST. 



the day's treatment may he supposed, likely to have 
awakened in a mere child. He had listened to their 
taunts with a look of contempt ; he had borne the 
lash without a cry ; for he felt that pride swelling 
in his heart which would have kept down a shriek 
to the last, though they had roasted him alive. But 
now, when there was none to see or hear him, he fell 
upon his knees on the floor ; and, hiding his face in 
his hands, wept such tears as, God send for the cred 
it of our nature, few so young may ever have cause 
to pour out before him ! 

For a long time Oliver remained motionless in 
this attitude. The caudle was burning low in the 
socket when he rose to his feet. Having gazed cau 
tiously round him, and listened intently, he gently 
undid the fastenings of the door, and looked abroad. 

It was a cold, dark night. The stars seemed, to the 
boy's eyes, farther from the earth than he had ever 
seen them before ; there was no wind ; and the sombre 
shadows thrown by the trees upon the ground, looked 
sepulchral and death-like, from being so still. He 
softly reclosed the door. Having availed himself 
of the expiring light of the candle to tie up in a 
handkerchief the few articles of wearing apparel 
he had, sat himself down upon a bench to wait for 
morning. 

With the first ray of light that struggled through 
the crevices in the shutters, Oliver arose, and again 
unbarred the door. One timid look around one 
moment's pause of hesitation he had closed it be 
hind him, and was in the open street. 

He looked to the right and to the left, uncertain 
whither to fly. . He remembered to have seen the 
wagons, as they went out, toiling up the hill. He 
took the same route; and arriving at a foot-path 
across the fields, which he knew, after some dis 
tance, led out again into the road, struck into it, 
and walked quickly on. 

Along this same foot-path, Oliver well remember 
ed he had trotted beside Mr. Bumble, when he first 
carried him to the work-house from the farm. His 
way lay directly in front of the cottage. His heart 
beat quickly when he bethought himself of this, and 
he half resolved to turn back. He had come a long 
way though, and should lose a great deal of time by 
doing so. Besides, it was so early that there was 
very little fear of his being seen ; so he walked on. 

He reached the house. There was no appearance 
of its inmates stirring at that early hour. Oliver 
stopped, and peeped into the garden. A child was 
weeding one of the little beds ; as he stopped, he 
raised his pale face and disclosed the features of one 
of his former companions. Oliver felt glad to see 
him before he went ; for, though younger than him 
self, he had been his little friend and playmate. 
They had been beaten, and starved, and shut up to 
gether many and many a time. 

" Hush, Dick !" said Oliver, as the boy ran to the 
gate, and thrust his thin arm between the rails to 
greet him. " Is any one up ?" 

" Nobody but me," replied the child. 

" You mustn't say you saw me, Dick," said Oliver. 
" I am running away. They beat and ill-use me, 
Dick ; and I am going to seek my fortune some 
long way off. I don't know where. How pale you 
are !" 



" I heard the doctor tell them I was dying," re 
plied the child, with a faint smile. " I am very glad 
to see you, dear ; but don't stop, don't stop !" 

" Yes, yes, I will, to say good-bye to you," replied 
Oliver. " I shall see you again, Dick. I know I 
shall. You will be well and happy !" 

" I hope so," replied the child. " After I am dead, 
but not before. I know the doctor must be right, 
Oliver, because I dream so much of Heaven, and An 
gels, and kind faces that I never see when I am 
awake. Kiss me," said the child, climbing up the 
low gate, and flinging his little arms round Oliver's 
neck : " Good-bye, dear ! God bless you !" 

The blessing was from a young child's lips, but it 
was the first that Oliver had ever heard invoked 
upon his head ; and through the struggles and suf 
ferings, and troubles and changes, of his after-life, he 
never once forgot it. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

OLIVER WALKS TO LONDON. HE ENCOUNTERS ON THE 
ROAD A STRANGE SORT OF TOUNG GENTLEMAN. 

OLIVER reached the stile at which the by-path 
terminated, and once more gained the high 
road. It was eight o'clock now. Though he was 
nearly five miles away from the town, he ran, and 
hid behind the hedges, by turns, till noon, fearing 
that he might be pursued and overtaken. Then he 
sat down to rest by the side of the mile-stone, and be 
gan to think, for the first time, where he had better 
go and try to live. 

The stone by which he was seated bore, in large 
characters, an intimation that it was just seventy 
miles from that spot to London. The name awaken 
ed a new train of ideas in the boy's mind. London ! 
that great large place ! nobody not even Mr. 
Bumble could ever find him there ! He had often 
heard the old men in the work-house, too, say that 
no lad of spirit need want in London ; and that there 
were ways of living in that vast city which- those 
who had been bred up in country parts had no idea 
of. It was the very place for a homeless boy, who 
must die in the streets unless some one helped him. 
As these things passed through his thoughts, he 
jumped upon his feet and again walked forward. 

He had diminished the distance between himself 
and London by full four miles more, before he recol 
lected how much he must undergo ere he could hope 
to reach his place of destination. As this considera 
tion forced itself upon him, he slackened his pace a 
little, and meditated upon his means of getting there. 
He had a crust of bread, a coarse shirt, and two pairs 
of stockings in his bundle. He had a penny too a 
gift of Sowerberry's after some funeral in which he 
had acquitted himself more than ordinarily well in 
his pocket. " A clean shirt," thought Oliver, " is a 
very comfortable thing; and so are two pairs of 
darned stockings ; and so is a penny ; but they are 
small helps to a sixty-five miles' walk in winter 
time." But Oliver's thoughts, like those of most 
other people, although they were extreme^ ready 
and active to point out his difficulties, were wholly 
at a loss to suggest any feasible mode of surmount- 



THE YOUNG PILGRIM'S PROGRESS. 



29 



ing them ; so, after a good deal of thinking to no 
particular purpose, he changed his little bundle over 
to the other shoulder, and trudged on, 

Oliver walked twenty miles that day ; and all that 
time tasted nothing but the crust of dry bread, and 
a few draughts of water, which he begged at the cot 
tage-doors by the road-side. When the night came, 
he turned into a meadow ; and, creeping close under 
a hay-rick, determined to lie there till morning. He 
felt frightened at first, for the wind moaned dismally 
over the empty fields ; and he was cold and hungry, 
and more alone than he had ever felt before. Being 
very tired with his walk, however, he soon fell asleep 
and forgot his troubles. 

He felt cold and stiff when he got up next morn 
ing, and so hungry that he was obliged to exchange 
the penny for a small loaf, in the very first village 
through which he passed. He had walked no more 
than twelve miles, when night closed in again. His 
feet were sore, and his legs so weak that they trem 
bled beneath him. Another night passed in the 
bleak, damp air, made him worse ; when he set for 
ward on his journey next morning, he could hardly 
crawl along. 

He waited at the bottom of a steep hill till a stage 
coach came up, and then begged of the outside pas 
sengers ; but there were very few who took any no 
tice of him ; and even those told him to wait till 
they got to the top of the hill, and then let them see 
how far he could run for a halfpenny. Poor Oliver 
tried to keep up with the coach a little way, but was 
unable to do it, by reason of his fatigue and sore feet. 
When the outsides saw this, they put their half 
pence back into their pockets again, declaring that 
he was an idle young dog, and didn't deserve any 
thing ; and the coach rattled away and left only a 
cloud of dust behind. 

In some villages, large painted boards were fixed 
up, warning all persons who begged within the dis 
trict that they would be sent to jail. This fright 
ened Oliver very much, and made him glad to get 
out of those villages with all possible expedition. In 
others, he would stand about the inn-yards, and look 
mournfully at every one who passed : a proceeding 
which generally terminated in the landlady's order 
ing one of the post-boys who were lounging about 
to drive that strange boy out of the place, for she 
was sure he had come to steal something. If he 
begged at a farmer's house, ten to one but they 
threatened to set the dog on him ; and when he 
showed his nose in a shop, they talked about the 
beadle which brought Oliver's heart into his mouth 
very often the only thing he had there for many 
hours together. 

In fact, if it had not been for a good-hearted turn 
pike-man, and a benevolent old lady, Oliver's trou 
bles would have been shortened by the very same 
process which had put an end to his mother's; in 
other words, he would most assuredly have fallen 
dead upon the king's highway. But. the turnpike- 
niiin gave him a meal of bread and cheese; and the 
old lady, who had a shipwrecked grandson wander 
ing barefoot in some distant part of the earth, took 
pity upon the poor orphan, and gave him what little 
she coiild afford and more with such kind and 
gentle words, and such tears of sympathy and com 



passion, that they sank deeper into Oliver's soul, 
than all the sufferings he had ever undergone. 

Early on the seventh morning after he had left his 
native place, Oliver limped slowly into the little town 
of Bamet. The window-shutters w r ere closed ; the 
street was empty ; not a soul had awakened to the 
business of the day. The sun was rising in all its 
splendid beauty ; but the light only served to show 
the boy his own lonesomeness and desolation, as he 
sat, with bleeding feet and covered with dust, upon 
a door-step. 

By degrees the shutters were opened ; the window- 
blinds were drawn up ; and people began passing to 
and fro. Some few stopped to gaze at Oliver for a 
moment or two, or turned round to stare at him as 
they hurried by ; but none relieved him, or troubled 
themselves to inquire how he came there. He had 
no heart to beg. And there he sat. 

He had been crouching on the step for some time : 
wondering at the great number of public -houses 
(every other house in Baruet was a tavern, large or 
small), gazing listlessly at the coaches as they passed 
through, and thinking how strange it seemed that 
they could do, with ease, in a few hours, what it had 
taken him a whole week of courage and determina 
tion beyond his years to accomplish : when he was 
roused by observing that a boy, who had passed him 
carelessly some minutes before, had returned, and 
was now surveying him most earnestly from the op 
posite side of the way. He took little heed of this 
at first ; but the boy remained in the same attitude 
of close observation so long, that Oliver raised his 
head, and returned his steady look. Upon this, the 
boy crossed over, and, walking close up to Oliver, said, 

" Hullo, my covey ! What's the row ?" 

The boy who addressed this inquiry to the young 
wayfarer, was about his own age : but one of the 
queerest -looking boys that Oliver had ever seen. 
He was a snub-nosed, flat-browed, common-faced boy 
enough ; and as dirty a juvenile as one would wish 
to see ; but he had about him all the airs and man 
ners of a man. He was short of his age ; with rath 
er bow legs, and little, sharp, ugly eyes. His hat was 
stuck on the top of his head so lightly, that it threat 
ened to fall off every moment and would have done 
so, very often, if the wearer had not had a knack of 
every now and then giving his head a sudden twitch, 
which brought it back to its old place again. He 
wore a man's coat, which reached nearly to his heels. 
He had turned the cuffs back, half-way up his arm, 
to get his hands out of the sleeves : apparently with 
the ultimate view of thrusting them into the pockets 
of his corduroy trowsers; for there he kept them. 
He was, altogether, as roystering and swaggering a 
young gentleman as ever stood four feet six, or some 
thing less, in his bluchers. . 

" Hullo, my covey ! What's the row ?" said this 
strange young gentleman to Oliver. 

" I am very hungry and tired," replied Oliver : the 
tears standing in his eyes as he spoke. " I have 
walked a long way. I have been walking these 
seven days." 

" Walking for sivin days !" said the young gentle 
man. " Oh, I see. Beak's order, eh ? But," he add 
ed, noticing Oliver's look of surprise, " I suppose you 
don't know what a beak is, my flash com-pan-i-on." 



30 



OLIVER TWIST. 



Oliver mildly replied, that he had always heard a 
bird's month described by the term in question. 

" My eyes, how green !" exclaimed the young gen 
tleman. " Why, a beak's a madgst'rate ; and when 
you walk by a beak's order, it's not straight forerd, 
but always a-going up, and nivir a-couiiug down agin. 
Was you never on the mill ?" 

" What mill ?" inquired Oliver. 

" What mill ! Why, the mill the mill as takes up 
so little room that it'll work inside a Stone Jug ; and 
always goes better when the wind's low with people, 
than when it's high ; acos then they can't get work 
men. But come," said the young gentleman ; " you 
want grub, and you shall have it. I'm at low-wa 
ter-mark myself only one bob and a magpie ; but, 



which the strange boy eyed him from time to time 
with great attention. 

" Going to London ?" said the strange boy, when 
Oliver had at length concluded. 

" Yes." 

" Got any lodgings ?" 

"No." 

"Money?" 

"No." 

The strange boy whistled, and put his arms into his 
pockets as far as the big coat sleeves would let them go. 

" Do you live in London ?" inquired Oliver. 

" Yes, I do, when I'm at home," replied the boy. 
" I suppose you want some place to sleep in to-night, 
don't you F 




" HULLO, MY COVEY ! WIIAT'B TI1E EOW ?" 



as far as it goes, I'll fork out and stump. Up with 
you on your pins. There ! Now then ! Morrice !" 

Assisting Oliver to rise, the young gentleman took 
him to an adjacent chandler's shop, where he pur 
chased a sufficiency of ready-dressed ham and a half- 
quartern loaf, or, as he himself expressed it, " a four- 
penny bran!" the ham being kept clean and pre 
served from dust by the ingenious expedient of mak 
ing a hole in the loaf by pulling out a portion of the 
crumb, and 'stuffing it therein. Taking the bread 
under his arm, the young gentleman turned into a 
small public-house, and led the way to a tap-room in 
the rear of the premises. Here a pot of beer was 
brought in by direction of the mysterious youth; 
and Oliver, falling to at his new friend's bidding, 
made a long and hearty meal, during the progress of 



" I do, indeed," answered Oliver. " I have not slept 
under a roof since I left the country." 

"Don't fret your eyelids on that score," said tlir 
young gentleman. "I've got to be in London to 
night ; and I know a 'spectable old genelman as lives 
there, wot'll give you lodgings for nothink, and nev 
er ask for the change that is, if any genelman he 
knows interduces you. And don't he know me f 
Oh, no ! not in the least ! By no means. Certainly 
not!" 

The young gentleman smiled, as if to intimate that 
the latter fragments of discourse were playfully iron 
ical ; and finished the beer as he did so. 

This unexpected offer of shelter was too tempting 
to be resisted ; especially as it was immediately fol 
lowed up, by the assurance that the old gentleman 



THE ARTFUL DODGER. 



31 



referred to would doubtless provide Oliver with a 
comfortable place, without loss of time. This led 
te a more friendly and confidential dialogue ; from 
which Oliver discovered that his friend's name was 
Jack Dawkins, and that he was a peculiar pet and 
protege of the elderly gentleman before mentioned. 

Mr. Dawkins's appearance did not say a vast deal 
in favor of the comforts which his patron's interest 
obtained for those whom he took under his protec 
tion ; but, as he had a rather flighty and dissolute 
mode of conversing, and furthermore avowed that 
among his intimate friends he was better known by 
the sobriquet of " The artful Dodger," Oliver conclud 
ed that, being of a dissipated and careless turn, the 
moral precepts of his benefactor had hitherto been 
thrown away upon him. Under this impression, he 
secretly resolved to cultivate the good opinion of the 
old gentleman as quickly as possible ; and, if he 
found the Dodger incorrigible, as he more than half 
suspected he should, to decline the honor of his fur 
ther acquaintance. 

As John Dawkius objected to their entering Lon 
don before nightfall, it was nearly eleven o'clock 
when they reached the turnpike at Islington. They 
crossed from the Angel into St. John's road ; struck 
down the small street which terminates at Sadler's 
Wells Theatre ; through Exmouth Street and Cop 
pice Row ; down the little court by the side of the 
work-house; across the classic ground which once 
bore the name of Hockley-iu-the-Hole ; thence into 
Little Saffron Hill ; and so into Saffron Hill the 
Great ; along which the Dodger scudded at a rapid 
pace, directing Oliver to follow close at his heels. 

Although Oliver had enough to occupy his atten 
tion in keeping sight of his leader, he could not help 
bestowing a few hasty glances on either side of the 
way, as he passed along. A dirtier or more wretch 
ed place he had never seen. The street was very 
narrow and muddy, and the air was impregnated 
with filthy odors. There were a good many small 
shops; but the only stock-in-trade appeared to be 
heaps of children, who, even at that time of night, 
were crawling in and out at the doors, or screaming 
from the inside. The sole places that seemed to 
prosper amidst the general blight of the j lace were 
the public-houses ; and in them the lowest orders of 
Irish were wrangling with might and main. Cov 
ered ways and yards, which here and there diverged 
from the main street, disclosed little knots of houses, 
where drunken men and women were positively wal 
lowing in filth*; and from several of the door-ways, 
great ill-looking fellows were cautiously emerging, 
bound, to all appearance, on no very well-disposed 
or harmless errands. 

Oliver was just considering whether he hadn't bet 
ter run away, when they reached the bottom of the 
hill. His conductor, catching him by the arm, push 
ed open the door of a house near Field Lane ; and, 
drawing him into the passage, closed it behind them. 

" Now, then !" cried a voice from below, in reply to 
a whistle from the Dodger. 

" Plummy and slam !" was the reply. 

This seemed to be some watch-word or signal that 
all was right ; for the light of a feeble candle gleam 
ed on the wall at the remote end of the passage; 
and a man's face peeped out from where a balus 



trade of the old kitchen staircase had been broken 
away. 

" There's two on you," said the man, thrusting the 
candle farther out, and shading his eyes with his 
hand. " Who's the t'other one f ' 

"A new pal," replied Jack Dawkins, pulling Oli 
ver forward. 

" Where did he come from ?" 

" Greenland. Is Fagin up stairs ?" 

"Yes; he's a sortiif the wipes. Up with you!" 
The candle was drawn back, and the face disap 
peared. 

Oliver, groping his way with one hand, and hav 
ing the other firmly grasped by his companion, as 
cended with much difficulty the dark and broken 
stairs ; which his conductor mounted with an ease 
and expedition that showed he was well acquainted 
with them. He threw open the door of a back-room, 
and drew Oliver in after him. 

The walls and ceiling of the room were perfectly 
black with age and dirt. There was a deal table be 
fore the fire : upon which were a candle stuck in a 
ginger-beer bottle, two or three pewter pots, a loaf 
and butter, and a plate. In a frying-pan, which was 
on tlie fire, and which was secured to*the mantel 
shelf by a string, some sausages were cooking ; and 
standing over them, with a toasting-fork in his hand, 
was a very old, shriveled Jew, whose villainous-look 
ing and repulsive face was obscured by a quantity of 
matted red hair. He was dressed in a greasy flannel 
gown, with his throat bare ; and seemed to be divid 
ing his attention between the frying-pan and a 
clothes-horse, over which a great number of silk 
handkerchiefs were hanging. Several rough beds, 
made of old sacks, were huddled side by side on the 
floor. Seated round the table were four or five boys, 
none older than the Dodger, smoking long clay pipes 
and drinking spirits, with the air of middle-aged 
men. These all crowded about their associates as 
he whispered a few words to the Jew; and then 
turned round and grinned at Oliver. So did the Jew 
tiimself, toasting-fork in hand. 

"This is him, Fagin," said Jack Dawkins; "my 
friend Oliver Twist." 

The Jew grinned ; and, making a low obeisance to 
Oliver, took him by the hand, and hoped he should 
have the honor of his intimate acquaintance. Upon 
this, the young gentlemen with the pipes came round 
him, and shook both his hands very hard especial 
ly the one in which he held his little bundle. One 
young gentleman was very anxious to hang up his 
cap for him ; and another was so obliging as to put 
his hands in his pockets, in order that, as he was very 
tired, he might not have the trouble of emptying 
them himself when he went to bed. These civilities 
would probably have been extended much farther, 
but for a liberal exercise of the Jew's toasting-fork 
on the heads and shoulders of the affectionate youths 
who offered them. 

" We are very glad to see you, Oliver, very," said 
the Jew. " Dodger, take off the sausages ; and draw 
a tub near the fire for Oliver. Ah, you're a-staring 
at the pocket-handkerchiefs! eh, my dear! There 
are a good many of 'em, ain't there? We've just 
looked 'em out, ready for the wash ; that's all, Oli 
verthat's all. Ha ! ha ! ha !" 



OLIVER TWIST. 



The latter part of this speech was hailed by a bois 
terous shout from all the hopeful pupils of the merry 
old gentleman; in the midst of which they went to 
supper. 

Oliver ate his share, and the Jew then mixed him 
n glass of hot gin and water: telling him he must 
drink it off directly, because another gentleman 
wanted the tumbler. Oliver did as he was desired. 
Immediately afterward he felt himself gently lifted 
on to one of the sacks; and then he sunk into a 
deep sleep. 



CHAPTER IX. 

CONTAINING FARTHER PARTICULARS CONCERNING THE 
PLEASANT OLD GENTLEMAN AND HIS HOPEFUL PUPILS. 

IT was late next morning when Oliver awoke, from 
a sound, long sleep. There was no other person 
in the room but the old Jew, who was boiling some 
coffee in a saucepan for breakfast, and whistling 
softly to himself as he stirred it round and round 
with an iron spoon. He would stop every now and 
then to listen when there was the least noise below ; 
and when h had satisfied himself, he would go on, 
whistling and stirring again, as before. 

Although Oliver had roused himself from sleep, he 
was not thoroughly awake. There is a drowsy state, 
between sleeping and waking, when you dream more 
in five minutes with your eyes half open, and your 
self half conscious of every thing that is passing 
around you, than you would in five nights with your 
eyes fast closed, and your senses wrapped in perfect 
unconsciousness. At such times, a mortal knows 
just enough of what his mind is doing, to form some 
glimmering conception of its mighty powers, its 
bounding from earth and spurning time and space, 
when freed from the restraint of its corporeal asso 
ciate. 

Oliver was precisely in this condition. He saw 
the Jew with his half-closed eyes; heard his low 
Avhistling ; and recognized the sound of the spoou 
grating against the saucepan's sides ; and yet the 
self-same senses were mentally engaged, at the same 
time, in busy action with almost every body he had 
ever known. 

When the coffee was done, the Jew drew the sauce 
pan to the hob. Standing, then, in an irresolute at 
titude for a few minutes, as if he did not well know 
how to employ himself, he turned round and looked 
at Oliver, and called him by his name. He did not 
answer, and was to all appearance asleep. 

After satisfying himself upon this head, the Jew 
stepped gently to the door : which he fastened. He 
then drew forth, as it seemed to Oliver, from some 
trap in the floor, a small box, which he placed care 
fully on the table. His eyes glistened as he raised 
the lid and looked in. Dragging an old chair to the 
table, he sat down ; and took from it a magnificent 
gold watch, sparkling with jewels. 

"Aha!" said the Jew, shrugging up his shoulders, 
and distorting every feature with a hideous grin. 
' Clever dogs ! Clever do'gs ! Staunch to the last ! 
Never told the old parson where they were. Never 
peached upon old Fagin ! And why should they ? 
It wouldn't have loosened the knot, or kept the drop 



up, a minute longer. No, 110, no ! Fine fellows ! 
Fine fellows !'' 

With these, and other muttered reflections of the 
like nature, the Jew once more deposited the watch 
in its place of safety. At least half a dozen more 
were severally drawn forth from the same box, and 
surveyed with equal pleasure ; besides rings, brooch 
es, bracelets, and other articles of jewelry, of such 
magnificent materials, and costly workmanship, that 
Oliver had no idea even of their names. 

Having replaced these trinkets, the Jew took out 
another, so small that it lay in the palm of his hand. 
There seemed to be some very minute inscription on 
it ; for the Jew laid it flat upon the table, and, shad 
ing it with his hand, pored over it, long and earnest 
ly. At length he put it down, as if despairing of 
success, and, leaning back in his chair, muttered : 

" What a fine thing capital punishment is !> Dead 
men never repent ; dead men never bring awkward 
stories to light. Ah, it's a fine thing for the trade ! 
Five of 'em strung up in a row, and none left to play 
booty, or turn white-livered !" 

As the Jew uttered these words, his bright dark 
eyes, which had been staring vacantly before him, 
fell on Oliver's face ; the boy's eyes were fixed on his 
in mute curiosity ; and although the recognition was 
only for an instant for the briefest space of time 
that can possibly be conceived it was enough to 
show the old man that he had been observed. He 
closed the lid of the box with a loud crash ; and, lay 
ing his hand on a bread-knife which was on the ta 
ble, started furiously up. He trembled very much 
though ; for, even in his terror, Oliver could see that 
the knife quivered in the air. 

"What's that?" said the Jew. "What do you 
watch me for ? Why are you awake ? What have 
you seen? Spek out, boy! Quick quick! for 
your life !" 

" I wasn't able to sleep any longer, sir," replied 
Oliver, meekly. " I am very sorry if I have disturbed 
you, sir." 

" You were not awake an hour ago ?" said the Jew, 
scowling fiercely on the boy. 

" No ! No, indeed !" replied Oliver. 

" Are you sure ?" cried the Jew, with a still fiercer 
look than before, and a threatening attitude. 

" Upon my word I was not, sir," replied Oliver, 
earnestly. " I was not, indeed, sir." 

" Tush, tush, my dear !" said the Jew, abruptly re 
suming his old manner, and playhig with the knife 
a little, before he laid it down ; as if to induce the 
belief that he had caught it up in mere sport. " Of 
course I know that, my dear. I only tried to frighten 
you. You're a brave boy. Ha! ha! you're a brave 
boy, Oliver!" The Jew rubbed his hands with a 
chuckle, but glanced uneasily at the box, notwith 
standing. 

" Did you see any of these pretty things, my dear ?" 
said the Jew, laying his hand upon it after a short 
pause. 

" Yes, sir," replied Oliver. 

"Ah!" said the Jew, turning rather pale. "They 
they're mine, Oliver; my little property. All I 
have to live upon, in my old age. The folks call me 
a miser, my dear. Only a miser ; that's all." 

Oliver thought the old gentleman must be a de- 



IN THE PLEASANT OLD GENTLEMAN'S HOUSE. 



33 



elded ruiser to live in snch a dirty place, with so 
many watches ; but, thinking that perhaps his fond 
ness for the Dodger and the other boys cost him a 
good deal of money, he only cast a deferential look 
at the Jew, and asked if he might get up. 

" Certainly, my dear, certainly," replied the old 
gentleman.' " Stay. There's a pitcher of water in 
the corner by the door. Bring it here ; and I'll give 
you a basin to wash in, my dear." 

Oliver got up ; walked across the room ; and stoop 
ed for an instant to raise the pitcher. When he turned 
his head, the box was gone. 

He had scarcely washed himself, and made every 
thing tidy by emptying the basin out of the win 
dow, agreeably to the Jew's directions, when the 
Dodger returned, accompanied by a very sprightly 
young friend, whom Oliver had seen smoking on the 
previous night, and who was now formally intro 
duced to him as Charley Bates. The four sat down, 
to breakfast on the coffee, and some hot rolls and ham 
which the Dodger had brought home in the crown of 
Ms hat. 

"Well," said the Jew, glancing slyly at Oliver, 
and addressing himself to the Dodger, "I hope 
you've been at work this morning, my dears ?" 

" Hard," replied the Dodger. 

"As Xails," added Charley Bates. 

"Good boys, good boys!" said the Jew. "What 
have you got, Dodger ?" 

"A cbuple of pocket-books," replied that young 
gentleman. 

" Lined ?" inquired the Jew, with eagerness. 

" Pretty well," replied the Dodger, producing two 
pocket-books ; one green, and the other red. 

' Xot so heavy as they might be," said the Jew, 
after looking at the insides carefully; "but very 
neat and nicely made. Ingenious workman, ain't he, 
Oliver ?" 

"Very, indeed, sir," said Oliver. At which Mr. 
Charles Bates laughed uproariously; very much to 
the amazement of Oliver, who saw nothing to laugh 
at in any thing that had passed. 

" And what have you got, my dear ?" said Fagin 
to Charley Bates. 

'Wipes," replied Master Bates; at the same time 
producing four pocket-handkerchiefs. 

"Well," said the Jew, inspecting them closely; 
" they're very good ones, very. YOTI haven't marked 
them well, though, Charley ; so the marks shall be 
picked out with a needle, and we'll teach Oliver how 
to do it. Shall us, Oliver, eh ? Ha ! ha ! ha !" 

" If you please, sir," said Oliver. 

" You'd like to be able to make pocket - handker 
chiefs as easy as Charley Bates, wouldn't you, my 
den r ?'' said the Jew. 

"Very much, indeed, if youll teach me, sir," replied 
Oliver. 

Master Bates saw something so exquisitely ludi 
crous in this reply, that he burst into another laugh ; 
which laugh, meeting the coffee he was drinking, 
and carrying it down some wrong channel, very near 
ly terminated in his premature suffocation. 

" He is so jolly green !" said Charley when he re 
covered, as an apology to the company for his unpo- 
lite behavior. 

The Dodger said nothing, but he smoothed Oliver's 




hair over his eyes, and said he'd know better by-and- 
by ; upon which the old gentleman, observing Oliver's 
color mounting, changed the subject by asking wheth 
er there had been much of a crowd at the execution 
that morning? This made him wonder more and 
more ; for it was plain from the replies of the two 
boys that they had both been there ; and Oliver nat 
urally wondered how they could possibly have found 
time to be so very industrious. 

When the breakfast was cleared away, the merry 
old gentleman and the two boys played at a very 
curious and uncommon game, which was performed 
in this way: The merry old gentleman, placing a 
snuff-box in one pocket of his trowsers, a note-case 
in the other, and a watch in his waistcoat pocket, 
with a guard-chain round his neck, and sticking a 
mock - diamond pin in his shirt, buttoned his coat 
tight around him, and putting his spectacle-case and 
handkerchief in his pockets, trotted up and down 
the room with a stick, in imitation of the manner in 
which old gentlemen walk about the streets any hour 
in the day. Sometimes he stopped at the fire-place, 
and sometimes at the door, making believe that he 
was staring with all his might into shop - windows. 
At such times he would look constantly round him, 
for fear of thieves, and would keep slapping all his 
pockets in turn, to see that he hadn't lost any thing, 
in such a very funny and natural manner, that Oli 
ver laughed till the tears ran down his face. All this 
time the two boys followed him closely about, get 
ting out of his sight, so nimbly, every time he turned 
round, that it was impossible to follow their motions. 
At last, the Dodger trod upon his toes, or ran upon 
his boot accidentally, while Charley Bates stumbled 
up against him behind ; and in that one moment they 
took from him, with the most extraordinary rapid 
ity, snuff-box, note-case, watch-guard, chain, shirt- 
pin, pocket-handkerchief, even the spectacle-case. 
If the old gentleman felt a hand in any one of his 
pockets, he cried out where it was; and then the 
game began all over again. 

When this game had been played a great many 
times, a couple of young ladies called to see the 
young gentlemen ; one of whom was named Bet, and 
the other Nancy. They wore a good deal of hair, 
not very neatly turned up behind, and were rather 
untidy about the shoes and stockings. They were 
not exactly pretty, perhaps ; but they had a great 
deal of color in their faces, and looked quite stout 
and hearty. Being remarkably free and agreeable 
in their manners, Oliver thought them very nice girls 
indeed. As there is no doubt they were. 

These visitors stopped a long time. Spirits were 
produced, in consequence of one of the young ladies 
complaining of a coldness in her inside ; and the con 
versation took a very convivial and improving turn. 
At length Charley Bates expressed his opinion that 
it was time to pad the hoof. This, it occurred to 
Oliver, must be French for going out ; for, directly 
afterward, the Dodger, and Charley, and the two 
young ladies went away together, having been kind 
ly furnished by the amiable old Jew with money to 
spend. 

" There, my dear," said Fagin. " That's a pleasant 
life, isn't it ? They have gone out for the day." 

" Have they done work, sir I" inquired Oliver. 



OLIVER TWIST. 



" Yes," said the Jew ; " that is, unless they should 
unexpectedly come across any when they are out ; 
and they won't neglect it, if they do, my dear, de 
pend upon it. Make 'em your models, my dear. 
Make 'em your models," tapping the fire-shovel on 
the hearth to add force to his words: "do every 
thing they bid you, and take their advice in all mat 
ters especially the Dodger's, my dear. He'll be a 
great man himself, and will make you one too, if you 
take pattern by him. Is my handkerchief hanging 
out of my pocket, my dear ?" said the Jew, stopping 
short. 

" Yes, sir," said Oliver. 

" See if you can take it out, without my feeling 
it, as you saw them do when we were at play this 
morning." 

Oliver held up the bottom of the pocket with one 
hand, as he had seen the Dodger hold it, and drew 
the handkerchief lightly out of it with the other. 

" Is it gone ?" cried the Jew. 

" Here it is, sir," said Oliver, showing it in his 
hand. 

" You're a clever boy, my dear, 7 * said the playful 
old gentleman, patting Oliver on the head approv 
ingly. " I never saw a sharper lad. Here's a shil 
ling for you. If you go on in this way, you'll be the 
greatest man of the time. And now come here, and 
I'll show you how to take the marks out of the hand 
kerchiefs." 

Oliver wondered what picking the old gentleman's 
pocket in play had to do with his chances of being 
a great man. But,, thinking that the Jew, being so 
much his senior^ must know best, he followed him 
quietly to the table, and was soon deeply involved 
in his new study. 



CHAPTER X. 

OLIVER BECOMES BETTER ACQUAINTED WITH THE CHAR 
ACTERS OF HIS NEW ASSOCIATES, AND PURCHASES EX 
PERIENCE AT A HIGH PRICE. BEING A SHORT BUT 
VERT IMPORTANT CHAPTER IN THIS HISTORY. 

FOR many days Oliver remained in the Jew's 
room, picking the marks out of the pocket-hand 
kerchiefs, (of which a great number were brought 
home,) and sometimes taking part in the game al 
ready described, which the two boys and the Jew 
played, regularly, every morning. At length he be 
gan to languish for fresh air, and took many occa 
sions of earnestly entreating the old gentleman to 
allow him to go out to work, with his two com 
panions. 

Oliver was rendered the more anxious to be act 
ively employed, by what he had seen of the stern 
morality of the old gentleman's character. When 
ever the Dodger or Charley Bates came home at 
night empty-handed, he would expatiate with great 
vehemence on the misery of idle and lazy habits ; and 
would enforce upon them the necessity of an active 
life, by sending them supperless to bed. On one oc 
casion, indeed, he even went so far as to knock them 
both down a flight of stairs ; but this was carrying 
out his virtuous precepts to an unusual extent. 

At length, one morning, Oliver obtained the per 
mission he had so eagerly sought. There had been 



no handkerchiefs to work upon for two or three 
days, and the dinners had been rather meagre. Per 
haps these were reasons for the old gentleman's giv 
ing his assent ; but, whether they were or no, he told 
Oliver he might go, and placed him under the joint 
guardianship of Charley Bates and his Mend the 
Dodger. 

The three boys sallied out ; the Dodger Avith his 
coat-sleeves tucked up, and his hat cocked, as xisual ; 
'Master Bates sauntering along with his hands in his 
pockets ; and Oliver between them, wondering where 
they were going, and what branch of manufacture 
he would be instructed in first. 

The pace at which they went was such a very 
lazy, ill-looking saunter, that Oliver soon began to 
think his companions were going to deceive the 
old gentleman, by not going to work at all. The 
Dodger had a vicious propensity, too, of pulling the 
caps from the heads of small boys and tossing them 
down areas; while Charley Bates exhibited some 
very loose notions concerning the rights of property, 
by pilfering divers apples and onions from the stalls 
at the kennel sides, and thrusting them into pock 
ets which were so surprisingly capacious, that they 
seemed to undermine his whole suit of clothes in ev 
ery direction. These things looked so bad that Ol 
iver was on the point of declaring his intention of 
seeking his Avay back in the best way he could; 
when his thoughts were suddenly directed into an 
other channel by a very mysterious change of be 
havior on the part of the Dodger. 

They were just emerging from a narrow court not 
far from the open square in Clerkeuwell, which is 
yet called, by some strange perversion of terms, " The 
Green," when the Dodger made a sudden stop ; and, 
laying his finger on his lip, drew his companions 
back again, with the greatest caution and circum 
spection. 

"What's the matter?" demanded Oliver. 

" Hush !" replied the Dodger. " Do you see that 
old cove at the book-stall ?" 

" The old gentleman over the way ?" said Oliver. 
" Yes, I see him." 

" He'll do," said the Dodger. 

"A prime plant," observed Master Charley Bates. 

Oliver looked from one to the other, with the 
greatest surprise ; but he was not permitted to make 
any inquiries; for the two boys walked stealthily 
across the road, and slunk close behind the old gen 
tleman toward whom his attention had been direct 
ed. Oliver walked a few paces after them ; and, not 
knowing whether to advance or retire, stood looking 
on in silent amazement. 

The old gentleman was a very respectable-looking 
personage, with a powdered head and gold specta 
cles. He was dressed in a bottle-green coat with a 
black velvet collar ; wore white trowsers ; and car 
ried a smart bamboo cane under his arm. He had 
taken up a book from the stall, and there he stood, 
reading away as hard as if he were in his elbow- 
chair in his own study. It is very possible that he 
fancied himself there, indeed ; for it was plain, from 
his abstraction, that he saw not the book-stall, nor 
the street, nor the boys, nor, in short, any thing 
but the book itself, which he was reading straight 
through, turning over the leaf when he got to the 



OUT FOR A WALK. 



35 



bottom of a page, beginning at the top line of the 
next one, and going regularly on, with the greatest 
interest and eagerness. 

What was Oliver's horror and alarm as he stood a 
few paces off, looking on with his eyelids as wide 
open as they would possibly go, to see the Dodger 
plunge his hand into the old gentleman's pocket, 
and draw from thence a handkerchief! To see him 
hand the same to Charley Bates ; and finally to be 
hold them both running away round the corner at 
full speed ! 

In an instant the whole mystery of the handker 
chiefs, and the watches, and the jewels, and the Jew, 



But the old gentleman was not the only person 
who raised the hue-aud-cry. The Dodger and Mas 
ter Bates, unwilling to attract public attention by 
running down the open street, had" merely retired 
into the very first door-way round the corner. They 
no sooner heard the cry, and saw Oliver running, 
than, guessing exactly how the matter stood, they 
issued forth with great promptitude; and, shouting 
" Stop thief!" too, joined in the pursuit like good cit 
izens. 

Although Oliver had been brought Tip by philos 
ophers, he was not theoretically acquainted with the 
beautiful axiom that self-preservation is the first law 




" STOP TllIKi' 1 ." 



rushed upon the boy's mind. He stood, for . a mo 
ment, with the blood so tingling through all his 
veins from terror, that he felt as if he were in a 
burning fire ; then, confused and frightened, he took 
to his heels ; and, not knowing what he did, made 
off as fast as he could lay his feet to the ground. 

This was all done in a minute's space. In the 
very instant when Oliver began to run, the old gen 
tleman, putting his band to his pocket, and miss 
ing his handkerchief, turned sharp round. Seeing 
the boy scudding away at such a rapid pace, he very 
natiirally concluded him to be the depredator ; and, 
shouting "Stop thief!" with all his might, made off 
after him, book in hand. 



of nature. If he had been, perhaps he would have 
been prepared for this. Not being prepared, how 
ever, it alarmed him the more ; so away he went like 
the wind, with the old gentleman and the two boys 
roaring and shouting behind him. 

" Stop thief! Stop thief!" There is a magic in 
the sound. The tradesman leaves his counter, and 
the carman his wagon; the butcher throws down 
his tray ; the baker his basket ;. the milkman his 
pail ; the errand-boy his parcels ; the school-boy his 
marbles ; the pavior his pick-axe ; the child his bat- 
tledoor. Away they run, pell-mell, helter-skelter, 
slap -dash: tearing, yelling, screaming, knocking 
down the passengers as they turn the corners, rous- 



OLIVER TWIST. 



ing up the dogs, and astonishing the fowls; and 
streets, squares, and courts, re-echo with the sound. 

" Stop thief! Stop thief!" The cry is taken up 
by a hundred voices, and the crowd accumulate at 
every turning. Away they fly, splashing through 
the mud, and rattling along the pavements : up go 
the windows, out run the people, onward bear the 
mob a whole audience desert Punch in the very 
thickest of the plot, and, joining the rushing throng, 
swell the shout, and lend fresh vigor to the cry, " Stop 
thief! Stop thief!" 

"Stop thief I" Stop thief!" There is a passion 
for hunting something deeply implanted in the human 
breast. One wretched breathless child, panting with 
exhaustion ; terror in his looks ; agony in his eyes ; 
large drops of perspiration streaming down his face ; 
strains every nerve to make head upon his pursuers ; 
and as they follow on his track, and gain upon him 
every instant, they hail his decreasing strength with 
still louder shouts, and whoop and scream with joy. 
" Stop thief!" Ay, stop him, for God's sake, were it 
only in mercy ! 

Stopped at last! A clever blow. He is down 
upon the pavement ; and the crowd eagerly gather 
round him : each new-comer jostling and struggling 
with the others to catch a glimpse. " Stand aside !" 
"Give him a little air!" "Nonsense! he don't de 
serve it !" " Where's the gentleman f" " Here he 
is, coming down the street." " Make room there for 
the gentleman !" " Is this the boy, sir ?" " Yes." 

Oliver lay, covered with mud and dust, and bleed 
ing from the mouth, looking wildly round upon the 
heap of faces that surrounded him, when the old 
gentleman was officiously dragged and pushed into 
the circle by the foremost of the pursuers. 

" Yes," said the gentleman, " I am afraid it is the 
boy." 

"Afraid!" murmured the crowd. "That's a good 
'un !" 

" Poor fellow !" said the gentleman, " he has hurt 
himself." 

" / did that, sir," said a great lubberly fellow, step 
ping forward ; " and preciously I cut my knuckle 
agin' his mouth. I stopped him, sir." 

The fellow touched his hat with a grin, expecting 
something for his pains ; but the old gentleman, ey 
ing him with an expression of dislike, looked anx 
iously round, as if he contemplated running away 
himself: which it is very possible he might have at- 
.tempted to do, and thus have afforded another chase, 
had not a police officer (who is generally the last per 
son to arrive in such cases) at that moment made 
his way through the crowd, and seized Oliver by 
the collar. 

" Come, get up," said the man, roughly. 

" It wasn't me indeed, sir. Indeed, indeed, it was 
two other boys," said Oliver, clasping his hands pas 
sionately, and looking round. " They are here some 
where." 

" Oh no, they ain't," said the officer. He meant 
this to be ironical, but it was true besides ; for the 
Dodger and Charley Bates had filed off down the first 
convenient court they came to. " Come, get up !" 

" Don't hurt him," said the old gentleman, compas 
sionately. 

" Oh no, I won't hurt him," replied the officer, 



tearing his jacket half off his back, in proof thereof. 
" Come, I kuow you ; it won't do. Will you stand 
upon your legs, you young devil ?" 

Oliver,' who could hardly stand, made a shift to 
raise himself on his feet, and was at once lugged 
along the streets by the jacket-collar at a rapid pace. 
The gentleman walked on with them by the officer's 
side ; and as many of the crowd as could achieve the 
feat got a little ahead, and stared back at Oliver 
from time to time. The boys shouted in triumph ; 
and on they went. 



CHAPTER XI. 

TKEATS OF MR. FANG, THE POLICE MAGISTRATE ; AND 
FURNISHES A SLIGHT SPECIMEN OF HIS MODE OF AD 
MINISTERING JUSTICE. 

THHE offense had been committed within the dis- 
JL trict, and indeed in the immediate neighborhood 
of, a very notorious metropolitan police office. The 
crowd had only the satisfaction of accompanying Ol 
iver through two or three streets, and down a place 
called Mutton Hill, when he was led beneath a low 
archway, and up a dirty court, into this dispensary 
of summary justice, by the back way. It was a small 
paved yard into which they turned ; and here they 
encountered a stout man with a bunch of whiskers 
on his face, and a bunch of keys in his hand. 

"What's the matter now?" said the man carelessly. 

"A young fogle-hunter," replied the man w r ho had 
Oliver in charge. 

"Are you the party that's been robbed, sir?" in 
quired the man with the keys. 

" Yes, I am," replied the old gentleman ; " but I 
am not sure that this boy actually took the hand 
kerchief. I I would rather not press the case." 

" Must go before the magistrate now, sir," replied 
the man. " His worship will be disengaged in half 
a minute. Now, young gallows !" 

This was an invitation for Oliver to enter through 
a door which he unlocked as he spoke, and which 
led into a stone cell. Here he was searched, and, 
nothing being found upon him, locked up. 

This cell was in shape and size something like an 
area cellar, only not so light. It was most intolera 
bly dirty ; for it was Monday morning ; and it had 
been tenanted by six drunken people, who had been 
locked up, elsewhere, since Saturday night. But this 
is little. In our station-houses, men and women are 
every night confined on the most trivial charges 
the word is worth noting in dungeons, compared 
with which, those in Newgate, occupied by the most 
atrocious felons, tried, found guilty, and under sen 
tence of death, are palaces. Let any one who doubts 
this compare the two. 

The old gentleman looked almost as rueful as Oli 
ver when the key grated in the lock. He turned 
with a sigh to the book, which had been the innocent 
cause of all this disturbance. 

" There is something in that boy's face," said the 
old gentleman to himself as he walked slowly away, 
tapping his chin with the cover of the book, in a 
thoughtful manner; "something that touches and 
interests me. Can he be innocent ? He looked like. 



TAKEN INTO CUSTODY. 



37 



By-tlie-bye," exclaimed the old gentleman, halting 
very abruptly, and staring up into the sky, " Bless 
my soul! Where have I seen something like that 
look before ?" 

After musing for some minutes, the old gentleman 
walked, with the same meditative face, into a back 
anteroom opening from the yard; and there, retir 
ing into a corner, called up before his mind's eye a 
vast amphitheatre of faces over which a dusky cur 
tain had hung for many years. " No," said the old 
gentleman, shaking his head ; " it must be imagina 
tion." 

He wandered over them again. He had called 
them into view, and it was not easy to replace the 
shroud that had so long concealed them. There were 
the faces of friends, and foes, and of many that had 
been almost strangers peering intrusively from the 
crowd ; there were the faces of young and blooming 
girls that were now old women ; there were faces 
that the grave had changed and closed upon, but 
which the mind, superior to its power, still dressed 
in their old freshness and beauty, calling back the 
lustre of the eyes, the brightness of the smile, the 
beaming of the soul through its mask of clay, and 
whispering of beauty beyond the tomb, changed but 
to be heightened, and taken from earth only to be set 
up as a light, to shed a soft and gentle glow upon 
the path to heaven. 

But the old gentleman could recall no one counte 
nance of which Oliver's features bore a trace. So, 
he heaved a sigh over the recollections he had awak 
ened ; and being, happily for himself, an absent old 
gentleman, buried them again in the pages of the 
musty book. 

He was roused by a touch on the shoulder, and a 
request from the man with the keys to follow him 
into the office. He closed his book hastily, and was 
at once ushered into the imposing presence of the 
renowned Mr. Fang. 

The office was a front parlor, with a paneled wall. 
Mr. Fang sat behind a bar, at the upper end ; and on 
one side the door was a sort of wooden pen in which 
poor little Oliver was already deposited ; trembling 
very much at the awfulness of the scene. 

Mr. Fang was a lean, long-backed, stiff-necked, 
middle-sized man, with no great quantity of hair, 
and what he had, growing on the back and sides of 
his head. His face was stern, and much flushed. If 
he were really not in the habit of drinking rather 
more than was exactly good for him, he might have 
brought an action against his countenance for libel, 
and have recovered heavy damages. 

The old gentleman bowed respectfully ; and ad 
vancing to the magistrate's desk, said, suiting the 
action to the word, " That is my name and address, 
sir." He then withdrew a pace or two ; and, with 
another polite and gentlemanly inclination of the 
head, waited to be questioned. 

Now, it so happened that Mr. Fang was at that 
moment perusing a leading article in a newspaper 
of the morning, adverting to some recent decision of 
his, and commending him, for the three hundred and 
fiftieth time, to the special and particular notice of 
the Secretary of State for the Home Department. 
He was out of temper; and he looked up with an 
angry scowl. 



"Who are you ?" said Mr. Fang. 

The old gentleman pointed, with some surprise, to 
his card. 

"Officer!" said Mr. Fang, tossing the card con 
temptuously away with the newspaper. "Who is 
this fellow f ' 

" My name, sir," said the old gentleman, speaking 
like a gentleman, " my name, sir, is Brownlow. Per 
mit me to inquire the name of the magistrate who 
offers a gratuitous and unprovoked insult to a re 
spectable person, under the protection of the bench." 
Saying this, Mr. Brownlow looked round the office 
as if in search of some person who would afford him 
the required information. 

" Officer !" said Mr. Fang, throwing the paper on 
one side, " what's this fellow charged with ?" 

" He's not charged at all, your worship," replied 
the officer. " He appears against the boy, your wor 
ship." 

His worship knew this perfectly well ; but it was 
a good annoyance, and a safe one. 

"Appears against the boy, does he?" said Fang, 
surveying Mr. Brownlow contemptuously from head 
to foot. " Swear him !" 

" Before I am sworn, I must beg to say one word," 
said Mr. Brownlow : " and that is, that I really nev 
er, without actual experience, could have believed : 

" Hold your tongue, sir," said Mr. Fang, peremp 
torily. 

" I will not, sir !" replied the old gentleman. 

" Hold your tongue this instant, or I'll have you 
turned out of the office !" said Mr. Fang. " You're 
an insolent, impertinent fellow. How dare you bully 
a magistrate ?" 

"What!" exclaimed the old gentleman, redden- 
jng. 

" Swear this person," said Fang to the clerk. " I'll 
not hear another word. Swear him." 

Mr. Browulow's indignation was greatly roused ; 
but reflecting, perhaps, that he might only injure the 
boy by giving vent to it, he suppressed his feelings 
and submitted to be sworn at once. 

"Now," said Fang, "what's the charge against 
this boy ? What have you got to say, Sir ?" 

" I was standing at a book-stall " Mr. Brownlow 
began. 

" Hold your tongue, sir," said Mr. Fang. " Police 
man ! Where's the policeman ? Here, swear this 
policeman. Now, policeman, what is this ?" 

The policeman, with becoming humility, related 
how he had taken the charge ; how he had searched 
Oliver, and found nothing on his person ; and how 
that was all he knew about it. 

" Are there any witnesses ?" inquired Mr. Fang. 

" None, your worship," replied the policeman. 

Mr. Fang sat silent for some minutes, and then, 
turning round to the prosecutor, said in a towering 
passion, 

" Do you mean to state what your complaint against 
this boy is, man, or do yon not ? You have been 
sworn. Now, if you stand there, refusing to give 
evidence, I'll punish you for disrespect to the bench ; 
I will, by" 

By what, or by whom, nobody knows, for the clerk 
and jailer coughed very loud, just at the right mo 
ment ; and the former dropped a heavy book upon 



38 



OLIVER TWIST. 



the floor, thus preventing the word from being 
heard accidentally, of course. 

With many interruptions, and repeated insults, 
Mr. Brownlow contrived to state his case ; observing 
that, in the surprise of the moment, he had run after 
the boy because he saw him running away ; and ex 
pressing his hope that, if the magistrate should be 
lieve him, although not actually the thief, to be con 
nected with thieves, he would deal as leniently with 
him as justice would allow. 

" He has been hurt already," said the old gentle 
man, in conclusion. "And I fear," he added, with 
great energy, looking toward the bar, " I really fear 
that he is ill." 

" Oh ! yes, I dare say !" said Mr. Fang, with a sneer. 
" Come, none of your tricks here, you young vaga 
bond ; they won't do. What's your name ?" 

Oliver tried to reply, but his tongue failed him. 
He was deadly pale ; and the whole place seemed 
turning round and round. 

" What's your name, you hardened scoundrel ?" de 
manded Mr. Fang. " Officer, what's his name ?" 

This was addressed to a bluff old fellow in a striped 
waistcoat, who was standing by the bar. He bent 
over Oliver, and repeated the inquiry ; but finding 
him really incapable of understanding the question, 
and knowing that his not replying would only in 
furiate the magistrate the more, and add to the se 
verity of his sentence, he hazarded a guess. 

" He says his name's Tom White, your worship," 
said this kind-hearted thief-taker. 

"Oh, he won't speak out, won't he ?" said Fang. 
" Very well, very well. Where does he live ?" 

" Where he can, your worship," replied the officer ; 
again pretending to receive Oliver's answer. 

" Has he any parents ?" inquired Mr. Fang. , 

" He says they died in his infancy, your worship," 
replied the officer, hazarding the usual reply. 

At this point of the inquiry, Oliver raised his head ; 
and, looking round with imploring eyes, murmured 
a feeble prayer for a draught of water. 

" Stuff and nonsense !" said Mr. Fang : " don't try 
to make a fool of me." 

" I think he really is ill, your worship," remon 
strated the officer. 

" I know better," said Mr. Fang. 

" Take care of him, officer," said the old gentle 
man, raising his hands instinctively; "he'll fall 
down." 

" Stand away, officer," cried Fang ; " let him, if 
he likes." 

Oliver availed himself of the kind permission, and 
fell to the floor in a fainting fit. The men in the of 
fice looked at each other, but no one dared to stir. 

" I knew he was shamming," said Fang, as if this 
were incontestable proof of the fact. " Let him lie 
there ; he'll soon be tired of that." 

" How do you propose to deal with the case, sir ?" 
inquired the clerk in a low voice. 

" Summarily," replied Mr. Fang. " He stands com 
mitted for three months hard labor, of course. 
Clear the office." 

The door was opened for this purpose, and a cou 
ple of men were preparing to carry the insensible 
boy to his cell ; when an elderly man of decent but 
poor appearance, clad in an old suit of black, rushed 



hastily into the office, and advanced toward the 
bench. 

" Stop, stop ! Don't take him away ! For Heav 
en's sake stop a moment!" cried the new-comer, 
breathless with haste. 

Although the presiding Genii in such an office as 
this exercise a summary and arbitrary power over 
the liberties, the good name, the character, almost 
the lives, of Her Majesty's subjects, especially of the 
poorer class ; and although, within such walls, 
enough fantastic tricks are daily played to make the 
angels blind Avith weeping ; they are closed to the 
public, save through the medium of the daily press.* 
Mr. Fang was consequently not a little indignant to 
see an unbidden guest enter in such irreverent dis 
order. 

" What is this ? Who is this ? Turn this man 
out. Clear the office !" cried Mr. Fang. 

" I will speak," cried the man ; " I will not be 
turned out. I saw it all. I keep the book -stall. I 
demand to be sworn. I will not be put down. Mr. 
Fang, you must hear me. You must not refuse, sir." 

The man was right. His manner was determined ; 
and the matter was growing rather too serious to be 
hushed up. 

" Swear the man," growled Mr. Fang, with a very 
ill grace. " Now, man, what have you got to say ?" 

"This," said the man: "I saw three boys two 
others and the prisoner here loitering on the oppo 
site side of the way, when this gentleman was read 
ing. The robbery was committed by another boy. 
I saw it done ; and I saw that this boy was perfect 
ly amazed and stupefied by it." Having by this 
time recovered a little breath, the worthy book-stall 
keeper proceeded to relate, in a more coherent man 
ner, the exact circumstances of the robbery. 

" Why didn't you come here before ?" said Fang, 
after a pause. 

"I hadn't a soul to mind the shop," replied the 
man. " Every body who could have helped me had 
joined in the pursuit. I could get nobody till five 
minutes ago ; and I have run here all the way." 

" The prosecutor was reading, was he ?" inquired 
Fang, after another pause. 

" Yes," replied the man. " The very book he has 
in his hand." 

" Oh, that book, eh ?" said Fang. " Is it paid for ?" 

" No, it is not," replied the man, with a smile. 

" Dear me, I forgot all about it !" exclaimed the 
absent old gentleman, innocently. 

" A nice person to prefer a charge against a poor 
boy !" said Fang, with a comical effort to look mi- . 
mane. " I consider, sir, that you have obtained pos 
session of that book under very suspicious and dis 
reputable circumstances ; and you may think your 
self very fortunate that the owTier of the property 
declines to prosecute. Let this be a lesson to you, 
my man, or the law will overtake you yet. The boy 
is discharged. Clear the office." 

" D n me !" cried the old gentleman, bursting out 
with the rage he had kept down so long, " d n me ! 
I'll" 

" Clear the office !" said the magistrate. " Officers, 
do you hear ? Clear the office !" 



* Or were virtually, then. 



GETTING BETTER. 



39 



The maudate was obeyed ; and the indignant Mr. 
Brownlow was conveyed out, with the book in one 
hand and the bamboo cane in the other, in a per 
fect frenzy of rage and defiance. He reached the 
yard ; and his passion vanished in a moment. Little 
Oliver Twist lay on his back on the pavement, with 
his shirt unbuttoned, and his temples bathed with 
water ; his face a deadly white ; and a cold tremble 
convulsing his whole frame. 

" Poor boy ! poor boy !" said Mr. Brownlow, bend 
ing over him. " Call a coach, somebody, pray. Di 
rectly!" 

A coach was obtained, and Oliver, having been 
carefully laid on one seat, the old gentleman got in 
and sat himself on the other. 

" May I accompany you I" said the book-stall keep 
er, looking in. 

" Bless me, yes, my dear sir," said Mr. Brownlow 
quickly. "I forgot you. Dear, dear! I have this 
unhappy book still! Jump in. Poor fellow! There's 
no time to lose." 

The book-stall keeper got into the coach ; and 
away they drove. 



CHAPTER XII. 

IN WHICH OLIVER IS TAKEN BETTER CARE OF THAN HE 
EVER WAS BEFORE. AND IN WHICH THE NARRATIVE 
REVERTS TO THE MEBKY OLD GENTLEMAN AND HIS 
YOUTHFUL FRIENDS. 

THE coach rattled away, over nearly the same 
ground as that which Oliver had traversed when 
he first entered London in company with the Dodger ; 
and, turning a different way when it reached the 
Angel at Islington, stopped at length before a neat 
house, in a quiet shady street near Pentonville. 
Here a bed was prepared, without loss of time, in 
which Mr. Brownlow saw his young charge carefully 
and comfortably deposited ; and here he was tended 
with a kindness and solicitude that knew no bounds. 

But, for many days, Oliver remained insensible to 
all the goodness of his new friends. The sun rose 
and sank, and rose and sank again, and many times 
after that ; and still the boy lay stretched on his un 
easy bed, dwindling away beneath the dry and wast 
ing heat of fever. The worm does not his work more 
surely on the dead body, than does this slow creeping 
fire upon the living frame. 

Weak, and thin, and pallid, he awoke at last from 
what seemed to have been a long and troubled dream. 
Feebly raising hinvelf in the bed, with his head rest 
ing on his trembling arm, he looked anxiously around. 

" What room is this ? Where have I been brought 
to ?" said Oliver. " This is not the place I went to 
sleep in." 

He uttered these words in a feeble voice, being 
very faint and weak ; but they were overheard at 
once. The curtain at the bed's head was hastily 
drawn back, and a motherly old lady, very neatly 
and precisely dressed, rose, as she undrew it, from an 
arm-chair close by, in which she had been sitting at 
needle-work. 

" Hush, my dear," said the old lady, softly. " Yon 
must be very quiet, or you will be ill again ; and you 



have been very bad as bad as bad could be, pretty 
nigh. Lie down again ; there's a dear !" With those 
words, the old lady very gently placed Oliver's head 
upon the pillow ; and, smoothing back his hair from 
his forehead, looked so kind and lovingly in his face, 
that he could not help placing his little withered 
hand in hers, and drawing it round his neck. 

" Save us !" said the old lady, with tears in her 
eyes, " What a grateful little dear it is ! Pretty 
creetur ! What would his mother feel if she had sat 
by him as I have, and could see him now !" 

" Perhaps she does see me," whispered Oliver, fold 
ing his hands together; "perhaps she has sat by me. 
I almost feel as if she had." 

" That was the fever, my dear," said the old lady, 
mildly. 

" I suppose it was," replied Oliver, " because heav 
en is a long way off; and they are too happy there, 
to come down to the bedside of a poor boy. But if 
she knew I was ill, she must have pitied me, even 
there ; for she was very ill herself before she died. 
She can't know any thing about me, though," added 
Oliver, after a moment's silence. " If she had seen 
me hurt, it would have made her sorrowful ; and her 
face has always looked sweet and happy, when I 
have dreamed of her." 

The old lady made no reply to this ; but wiping 
her tears first, and her spectacles, which lay on the 
counterpane, afterward, as if they were part and 
parcel of those features, brought some cool stuff 1 for 
Oliver to drink ; and then, patting him on the cheek, 
told him he must lie very quiet, or he would be ill 
again. 

So Oliver kept very still ; partly because he was 
anxious to obey the kind old lady in all things ; and 
partly, to tell the truth, because he was completely 
exhausted with what he had already said. He soon 
fell into a gentle doze, from which he was awakened 
by the light of a candle ; which, being brought near 
the bed, showed him a gentleman with a very large 
and loud-ticking gold watch in his hand, who felt 
his pulse, and said he was a great deal better. 

" You are a great deal better, are you not, my 
dear ?" said the gentleman. 

" Yes, thank you, sir," replied Oliver. 

" Yes, I know you are," said the gentleman. 
" You're hungry too, ain't you ?" 

" No, sir," answered Oliver. 

" Hem !" said the gentleman. " No, I know you're 
not. He is not hungry, Mrs. Bed win," said the gen 
tleman, looking very wise. 

The old lady made a respectful inclination of the 
head, which seemed to say that she thought the doc 
tor was a very clever man. The doctor appeared 
much of the same opinion himself. 

" You feel sleepy, don't you, my dear ?" said the 
doctor. 

" No, sir," replied Oliver. 

"No," said the doctor, with a very shrewd and 
satisfied look. "You are not sleepy. Nor thirsty. 
Are you ?" 

" Yes, sir, rather thirsty," answered Oliver. 

" Just as I expected, Mrs. Bedwin," said the doc 
tor. " It's very natural that he should be thirsty. 
You may give him a little tea, ma'am, and some dry 
toast without any butter. Don't keep him too warm, 



40 



OLIVER TWIST. 



ina'am ; but be careful that you don't let Mm be too 
coltl ; will you have the goodness ?" 

The old lady dropped a courtesy. The doctor, af 
ter tasting the cool stuff, and expressing a qualified 
approval of it, hurried away, his boots creaking in 
a very important and wealthy manner as he went 
down stairs. 

Oliver dozed off again soon after this ; when he 
awoke, it was nearly twelve o'clock. The old lady 
tenderly bade him good-night shortly afterward, and 
left him in charge of a fat old woman who had just 
come ; bringing with her, in a little bundle, a small 
Prayer-book and a large night-cap. Putting the lat 
ter on her head and the former on the table, the old 
woman, after telling Oliver that she had come to sit 
up with him, drew her chair close to the fire and 
went off into a series of short naps, checkered at fre 
quent intervals with sundry tumblings forward, and 
divers moans and chokiugs. These, however, had 
no w r orse effect than causing her to rub her nose 
very hard, and then fall asleep again. 

And thus the night crept slowly on. Oliver lay 
awake for some time, counting the little circles of 
light which the reflection of the rush-light shade 
threw upon the ceiling, or tracing with his languid 
eyes the intricate pattern of the paper on the wall. 
The darkness and the deep stillness of the room were 
very solemn: as they brought into the boy's mind 
the thought that death had been hovering there, for 
many days and nights, and might yet fill it with 
the gloom and dread of his awful presence, he turn 
ed his face upon the pillow, and fervently prayed to 
Heaven. 

Gradually he fell into that deep tranquil sleep 
which ease from recent suffering alone imparts ; that 
calm and peaceful rest which it is pain to wake from. 
Who, if this were death, would be roused again to all 
the struggles and turmoils of life ; to all its cares for 
the present, its anxieties for the future ; more than 
all, its weary recollections of the past ! 

It had been bright day for hours, when Oliver 
opened his eyes ; he felt cheerful and happy. The 
crisis of the disease was safely past. He belonged 
to the world again. 

In three days' time he was able to sit in an easy- 
chair, well propped up with pillows ; and, as he was 
still too weak to walk, Mrs. Bedwin had him carried 
down stairs into the little housekeeper's room, which 
belonged to her. Having him set here, by the fire 
side, the good old lady sat herself down too ; and, 
being in a state of considerable delight at seeing 
him so much better, forthwith began to cry most 
violently. 

" Never mind me, my dear," said the old lady. 
"I'm only having a regular good cry. There; it's 
all over now ; and I'm quite comfortable." 

" You're very, very kind to me, ma'am," said Oliver. 

""Well, never you mind that, my dear," said the 
old lady ; " that's got nothing to do with your broth ; 
and it's full time you had it ; for the doctor says Mr. 
Brownlow may come in to see you this morning, and 
Ave must get up our best looks, because the better we 
look the more he'll be pleased." And with this, the 
old lady applied herself to warming up, in a little 
saucepan, a basinful of broth, strong enough, Oliver 
thought, to furnish an ample dinner, when reduced 



to the regulation strength, for three hundred and 
fifty paupers, at the lowest computation. 

"Are you fond of pictures, dear?" inquired the 
old lady, seeing that Oliver had fixed his eyes, most 
intently, on a portrait which hung against the wall, 
just opposite his chair. 

" I don't quite know, ma'am," said Oliver, without 
taking his eyes from the canvas ; " I have seen so few 
that I hardly know. What a beautiful, mild face 
that lady's is !" 

" All !" said the old lady, " painters always make 
ladies out prettier than they are, or they wouldn't 
get any custom, child. The man that invented the 
machine for taking likenesses might have known 
that would never succeed; it's a deal too honest. 
A deal," said the old lady, laughing very heartily at 
her own acuteuess. 

" Is is that a likeness, ma'am ?" said Oliver. 

" Yes," said the old lady, looking up for a moment 
from the broth ; " that's a portrait." 

" Whose, ma'am ?" asked Oliver. 

" Why, really, my dear, I don't know," answered 
the old lady, in a good-humored manner. " It's not 
a likeness of any body that you or I know, I expect. 
It seems to strike your fancy, dear." 

" It is so very pretty," replied Oliver. 

" Why, sure you're not afraid of it ?" said the old 
lady ; observing, in great surprise, the look of awe 
with which the child regarded the painting. 

" Oh, no, no!" returned Oliver, quickly ; " but the 
eyes look so sorrowful ; and where I sit, they seem 
fixed upon me. It makes my heart beat," added 
Oliver in a low voice, " as if it was alive, and wanted 
to speak to me, but couldn't." 

"Lord save us!" exclaimed the old lady, start 
ing ; " don't talk in that way, child, You're weak 
and nervous after your illness. Let me wheel your 
chair round to the other side ; and then you won't 
see it. There !" said the old lady, suiting the action 
to the word ; " you don't see it now, at all events." 

Oliver did see it in his mind's eye as distinctly as 
if he had not altered his position; but he thought it 
better not to worry the kind old lady ; so he smiled 
gently when she looked at him ; and Mrs. Bedwin, 
satisfied that he felt more comfortable, salted and 
broke bits of toasted bread into the broth, with all 
the bustle befitting so solemn a preparation. Oliver 
got through it with extraordinary expedition. He 
had scarcely swallowed the last spoonful, when there 
came a soft rap at the door. " Come in," said the old 
lady ; and in walked Mr. Brownlow. 

Now, the old gentleman came in as brisk as need 
be ; but he had no sooner raised his spectacles on his 
forehead, and thrust his hands behind the skirts of 
his dressing-gown to take a good long look at Oliver, 
than his countenance underwent a very great variety 
of odd contortions. Oliver looked very worn and 
shadowy from sickness, and made an ineffectual at 
tempt to stand up, out of respect to his benefactor, 
which terminated in his sinking back into the chair 
again ; and the fact is, if the truth must be told, that 
Mr. Browulow's heart, being large enough for any six 
ordinary old gentlemen of humane disposition, forced 
a supply of tears into his eyes, by some hydraulic 
process which we are not sufficiently philosophical to 
be in a condition to explain. 



BETTER AND BETTER. 



41 



" Poor boy ! poor boy !" said Sir. Brownlow, clear 
ing his throat. " I'm rather hoarse this morning, 
Mrs. Bedwiii. I'm afraid I have caught cold." 

" I hope riot, sir," said Sirs. Bedwin. " Every thing 
you have had has been well aired, sir." 

" I don't know, Bedwin. I don't know," said Mr. 
Brownlow ; " I rather think I had a damp napkin at 
dinner-time yesterday ; but never mind that. How 
do you feel, my dear f ' 

"Very happy, sir," replied Oliver. "And very 
grateful indeed, sir, for your goodness to me." 

" Good boy," said Sir. Browulow, stoutly. " Have 
you given him any nourishment, Bedwiu ? An y slops, 
eh?" 

" He has just had a basin of beautiful strong broth, 
sir," replied Sirs. Bedwiu ; drawing herself up slight 
ly, and laying a strong emphasis on the last word, 
to intimate that between slops and broth well com 
pounded there existed no affinity or connection what 
soever. 

" Ugh !" said Sir. Brownlow, with a slight shud 
der ; " a couple of glasses of port-wine would have 
done him a great deal more good. Wouldn't they, 
Tom White, <-h .''' 

" Sly name is Oliver, sir," replied the little invalid : 
with a look of great astonishment. 

" Oliver," said Sir. Brownlow ; " Oliver what ? Ol 
iver White, eh ?" 

"No, sir; Twist Oliver Twist." 

" Queer name !" said the old gentleman. " What 
made you tell the magistrate your name was White ?" 

"I never told him so, sir," returned Oliver, in 
amazement. 

This sounded so like a falsehood, that the old gen 
tleman looked somewhat sternly in Oliver's face. It 
was impossible to doubt him ; there was truth in ev 
ery one of its thin and sharpened lineaments. 

" Some mistake," said Sir. Brownlow. But, al 
though his motive for looking steadily at Oliver no 
longer existed, the old idea of the resemblance be 
tween his features and some familiar face came upon 
him so strongly, that he could not withdraw his 
gaze. 

" I hope you are not angry with me, sir ?" said Ol 
iver, raising his eyes beseechingly. 

"No, no," replied the old gentleman. "Why! 
what's this ? Bedwin, look there !" 

As he spoke, he pointed hastily to the picture 
above Oliver's head, and then to the boy's face. 
There was its living copy. The eyes, the head, the 
mouth every feature was the same. The expres 
sion was, for the instant, so precisely alike, that the 
minutest line seemed copied with startling accuracy ! 

Oliver knew not the cause of this sudden excla 
mation ; for, not being strong enough to bear the 
start it gave him, he fainted away. A weakness on 
his part, which affords the narrative an opportunity 
of relieving the reader from suspense, in behalf of 
the two young pupils of the Slerry Old Gentleman ; 
and of recording 

That when the Dodger, and his accomplished friend 
Slastcr Bates, joined in the hue-and-cry which was 
raised at Oliver's heels, in consequence of their exe 
cuting an illegal conveyance of Sir. Brownlow's per 
sonal property, as has been already described, they 
were actuated by a very laudable and becoming re 



gard for themselves ; and forasmuch as the freedom 
of the subject and the liberty of the individual are 
among the first and proudest boasts of a true-hearted 
Englishman, so, I need hardly beg the reader to ob 
serve, that this action should tend to exalt them in 
the opinion of all public and patriotic men, in almost 
as great a degree as this strong proof of their anxi 
ety for their own preservation and safety goes to 
corroborate and confirm the little code of laws which 
certain profound and sound -judging philosophers 
have laid down as the mainsprings of all Nature's 
deeds and actions ; the said philosophers very wisely 
reducing the good lady's proceedings to matters of 
maxim and theory, and, by a very neat and pretty 
compliment to her exalted wisdom and understand 
ing, putting entirely out of sight any considerations 
of heart, or generous impulse and feeling. For these 
are matters totally beneath a female who is acknowl 
edged by universal admission to be far above the nu 
merous little foibles and weaknesses of her sex. 

If I wanted any further proof of the strictly phil 
osophical nature of the conduct of these young gen 
tlemen in their very delicate predicament, I should 
at once find it in the fact (also recorded in a forego 
ing part of this narrative), of their quitting the pur 
suit, when the general attention was fixed upon Oli 
ver ; and making immediately for their home by the 
shortest possible cut. Although I do not mean to 
assert that it is usually the practice of renowned and 
learned sages to shorten the road to any great con 
clusion (their course, indeed, being rather to length 
en the distance, by various circumlocutions and dis 
cursive staggerings, like unto those in which drunk 
en men under the pressure of a too mighty flow of 
ideas, are prone to indulge) ; still, I do mean to say, 
and do say distinctly, that it is the invariable prac 
tice of many mighty philosophers, in carrying out their 
theories, to evince great wisdom and foresight in pro 
viding against every possible contingency which can 
be supposed at all likely to affect themselves. Thus, 
to do a great right, you may do a little wrong ; and 
you may take any means which the end to be at 
tained will justify; the amount of the right, or the 
amount of the wrong, or, indeed, the distinction be 
tween the two, being left entirely to the philosopher 
concerned, to be settled and determined by his clear, 
comprehensive, and impartial view of his own par 
ticular case. 

It was not until the two boys had scoured, with 
great rapidity, through a most intricate maze of nar 
row streets and courts, that they ventured to halt 
beneath a low and dark archway. Having remain 
ed silent here, just long enough to recover breath 
to speak, Master Bates uttered an exclamation of 
amusement and delight ; and, bursting into an un 
controllable fit of laughter, flung himself upon a door 
step, and rolled thereon in a transport of mirth. 

" What's the matter ?" inquired the Dodger. 

" Ha ! ha ! ha !" roared Charley Bates. 

" Hold your noise," remonstrated the Dodger, look 
ing cautiously round. " Do you want to be grabbed, 
stupid?" 

" I can't help it," said Charley, " I can't help it ! 
To see him splitting away at that pace, and cutting 
round the corners, and knocking up again the posts, 
and starting on again as if he was made of iron as 



42 



OLIVER TWIST. 



well as them, and me with the wipe in my pocket, 
singing out arter him oh, my eye !" The vivid im 
agination of Master Bates presented the scene before 
him in too strong colors. As he arrived at this apos 
trophe, he again rolled upon the door-step, and laugh 
ed louder than before. 

" What'll Fagin say ?" inquired the Dodger ; tak 
ing advantage of the next interval of breathlessness 
on the part of his friend to propound the question. 

"What ?" repeated Charley Bates. 

" Ah, what ?" said the Dodger. 

" Why, what should he say ?" inquired Charley, 
stopping rather suddenly in his merriment ; for the 
Dodger's manner was impressive. " What should 
he say ?" 

Mr. Dawkins whistled for a couple of minutes; 



The noise of footsteps on the creaking stairs, a few 
minutes after the occurrence of this conversation, 
roused the merry old gentleman as he sat over the 
fire with a saveloy and a small loaf in his left hand ; 
a pocket-knife in his right ; and a pewter pot on the 
trivet. There was a rascally smile on his white face 
as he turned round, and, looking sharply out from 
under his thick red eyebrows, bent his ear toward 
the door, and listened. 

"Why, how's this?" muttered the Jew, changing 
countenance ; " only two of 'em ? Where's the third I 
They can't have got into trouble. Hark !" 

The footsteps approached nearer; they reached 
the landing. The door was slowly opened ; and the 
Dodger and Charley Bates entered, closing it behind 
them. 




1 WHAT'S BECOME OF THE BOY ?" 



then, taking off his hat, scratched his head, and nod 
ded thrice. 

" What do you mean ?" said Charley. 

" Toor ml lol loo, gammon and spinnage, the frog 
he wouldn't, and high cockolornm," said the Dodger, 
with a slight sneer on his intellectual countenance. 

This was explanatory, but not satisfactory. Mas 
ter Bates felt it so ; and again said, " What do you 
mean ?" 

The Dodger made no reply ; but putting his hat 
on again, and gathering the skirts of his long-tailed 
coat under his arm, thrust his tongue into his cheek, 
slapped the bridge of his nose some half-dozen times 
in a familiar but expressive manner, and, turning on 
his heel, slunk down the court. Master Bates fol 
lowed with a thoughtful countenance. 



CHAPTER XIII. 



SOME NEW ACQUAINTANCES ABE INTRODUCED TO THE 
INTELLIGENT READER, CONNECTED WITH WHOM VARI 
OUS PLEASANT MATTERS ARE RELATED APPERTAINING 
TO THIS HISTORY. 

" TTTHERE'S Oliver ?" said the Jew, rising with a 
VV menacing look. " Where's the boy ?" 
The young thieves eyed their preceptor as if they 
were alarmed at his violence; and looked uneasily 
at each other. But they made no reply. 

" What's become of the boy ?" said the Jew, seiz 
ing the Dodger tightly by the collar, and threaten 
ing him with horrid imprecations. " Speak out, or 
I'll throttle you!" 

Mr. Fagiu looked so very much in earnest, that 



A NEW ACQUAINTANCE. 



43 



Charley Bates, -who deemed it prudent in all cases 
to be on the safe side, and who conceived it hy no 
means improbable that it might be his turn to be 
throttled second, dropped upon his knees, and raised 
a loud, well-sustained, and continuous roar some 
thing between a mad bull and a speaking-trumpet. 

" Will you speak ?" thundered the Jew : shaking 
the Dodger so much that his keeping in the big coat 
at all seemed perfectly miraculous. 

" Why, the traps have got him, and that's all about 
it," said the Dodger, sullenly. " Come, let go o' me, 
will yon !'' And, swinging himself, at one jerk, clean 
out of the big coat, which he left in the Jew's hands, 
the Dodger snatched up the toasting-fork and made a 
pass at the merry old gentleman's waistcoat ; which, 
if it had taken effect, would have let a little more 
merriment out than could have been easily replaced. 

The Jew stepped back in this emergency, with 
more agility than could have been anticipated in a 
man of his apparent decrepitude ; and, seizing up the 
pot, prepared to hurl it at his assailant's head. But 
Charley Bates, at this moment, calling his attention 
by a perfectly terrific howl, he suddenly altered its 
destination, and flung it full at that young gentle 
man. 

" Why, what the blazes is in the wind now ?" 
growled a deep voice. "W T ho pitched that 'ere at 
me ? It's well it's the beer, and not the pot, as hit 
me, or I'd have settled somebody. I might have 
know'd, as nobody but an infernal, rich, plundering, 
thundering old Jew could afford to throw away any 
drink but water and not that, unless he done the 
River Company every quarter. Wot's it all about, 
Fagin ? D me, if my neck-handkercher an't lined 
with beer ! Come in, you sneaking warmint ! wot 
are you stopping outside for, as if you was ashamed 
of your master ! Come in !" 

The man who growled out these words was a 
stoutly-built fellow of about five-and-thirty, in a 
black velveteen coat, very soiled drab breeches, lace- 
up half boots, and gray cotton stockings, which in 
closed a bulky pair of legs, with large swelling 
calves the kind of legs, which in such costume, 
always look in an unfinished and incomplete state 
without a set of fetters to garnish them. He had a 
brown hat on his head, and a dirty belcher handker 
chief round his neck, with the long frayed ends of 
which he smeared the beer from his face as he spoke. 
He disclosed, Vhen he had done so, a broad heavy 
countenance with a beard of three days' growth, 
and two scowling eyes ; one of which displayed vari 
ous party-colored symptoms of having been recently 
damaged by a blow. 

" Come in, d'ye hear ?" growled this engaging ruf 
fian. 

A white shaggy dog, with his face scratched and 
torn in twenty different places, skulked into the 
room. 

" Why didn't you come in afore ?" said the man. 
" You're getting too proud to own me afore company, 
are you ? Lie down !'' 

This command was accompanied with a kick, 
which sent the animal to the other end of the room. 
He appeared well used to it, however ; for he coiled 
himself up in a corner very quietly, without utter 
ing a sound, and, winking his very ill-looking eyes 



twenty times in a minute, appeared to occupy him 
self in taking a survey of the apartment. 

" What are you up to ? Ill-treating the boys, you 
covetous, avaricious, in-sa-ti-a-ble old fence ?" said 
the man, seating himself deliberately. " I wonder 
they don't murder you ! / would if I was them. If 
I'd been your 'prentice, I'd have done it long ago, 
and no, I couldn't have sold you afterward, for 
you're fit for nothing but keeping as a curiosity of 
ugliness in a glass bottle, and I suppose they don't 
blow glass bottles large enough." 

" Hush ! hush ! Mr. Sikes," said the Jew, trembling ; 
" don't speak so loud." 

" None of your mistering," replied the ruffian ; 
"you always mean mischief when you come that. 
You know my name : out with it ! I sha'u't disgrace 
it when the time comes." 

" Well, well, then Bill Sikes," said the Jew, with 
abject humility. " You seem out of humor, Bill." 

"Perhaps I am," replied Sikes; "I should think 
you, was rather out of sorts too, unless you mean as 
little harm when you throw pewter pots about, as 
you do when you blab and : 

" Are you mad ?" said the Jew, catching the man 
by the sleeve, and pointing toward the boys. 

Mr. Sikes contented himself with tying an imagi 
nary knot under his left ear, and jerking his head over 
on the right shoulder ; a piece of dumb show which 
the Jew appeared to understand perfectly. He then, 
in cant terms, with which his whole conversation 
was plentifully besprinkled, but which would be 
quite unintelligible if they were recorded here, de 
manded a glass of liquor. 

" And mind you don't poison it," said Mr. Sikes, 
laying his hat upon the table. 

This was said in jest; but if the speaker could 
have seen the evil leer with which the Jew bit his 
pale lip as he turned round to the cupboard, he might 
have thought the caution not wholly unnecessary, 
or the wish (at all events) to improve upon the dis 
tiller's ingenuity not very far from the old gentle 
man's merry heart. 

After swallowing two or three glasses of spirits, 
Mr. Sikes condescended to take some notice of the 
young gentlemen ; which gracious act led to a con 
versation, in which the cause and manner of Oliver's 
capture were circumstantially detailed, with such 
alterations and improvements on the truth as to 
the Dodger appeared most advisable under the cir 
cumstances. 

" Fm afraid," said the Jew, " that he may say some 
thing which will get us into trouble." 

" That's very likely," returned Sikes, with a mali 
cious grin. " You're blowed upon, Fagin." 

" And I'm afraid, you see," added the Jew, speak 
ing as if he had not noticed the interruption ; and 
regarding the other closely as he did so " I'm afraid 
that, if the game was up with us, it might be up with 
a good many more, and that it would come out rath 
er worse for you than it would for me, my dear." 

The man started, and turned round upon the Jew. 
But the old gentleman's shoulders were shrugged up 
to his ears ; and his eyes were vacantly staring on 
the opposite wall. 

There was a long pause. Every member of the 
respectable coterie appeared plunged in his own re- 



44 



OLIVER TWIST. 



flections ; not excepting the dog, who by a certain 
malicious licking of his lips seemed to be meditating 
an attack upon the legs of the first gentleman or 
lady he might encounter in the streets when he went 
out. 

" Somebody must find out wot's been done at the 
office," said Mr. Sikes, in a much lower tone than he 
had taken since he came in. 

The Jew nodded assent. 

"If he hasn't peached, and is committed, there's 
no fear till he comes out again," said Mr. Sikes, " and 
then he must be taken care on. You must get hold 
of him somehow." 

Again the Jew nodded. 

The prudence of this line of action, indeed, was ob 
vious ; but, unfortunately, there was one very strong 
objection to its being adopted. This was, that the 
Dodger, and Charley Bates, and Fagin, and Mr. Wil 
liam Sikes, happened, one and all, to entertain a vio 
lent and deeply-rooted antipathy to going near a po 
lice-office on any ground or pretext whatever. 

How long they might have sat and looked at each 
other, in a state of uncertainty not the most pleasant 
of its kind, it is difficult to guess. It is not necessa 
ry to make any guesses on the subject, however ; for 
the sudden entrance of the two young ladies whom 
Oliver had seen on a former occasion, caused the con 
versation to flow afresh. 

" The very thing !" said the Jew. " Bet will go ; 
won't you, my dear I" 

" Wheres ?" inquired the young lady. 

" Only just up to the office, my dear," said the Jew, 
coaxingly. 

It is due to the young lady to say that she did not 
positively affirm that she would not, but that she 
merely expressed an emphatic and earnest desire to 
be " blessed " if she would ; a polite and delicate eva 
sion of the request, which shows the young lady to 
have been possessed of that natural good-breeding 
which can not bear to inflict upon a fellow-creature 
the pain of a direct and pointed refusal. 

The Jew's countenance fell. He turned from this 
young lady, who was gayly, not to say gorgeously 
attired, in a red gown, green boots, and yellow curl 
papers, to the other female. 

" Nancy, my dear," said the Jew in a soothing man 
ner, " what do you say ?" 

" That it won't do ; so it's no use a-trying it on, 
Fagin," replied Nancy. 

" What do you mean by that ?" said Mr. Sikes, 
lookiug up in a surly manner. 

" What I say, Bill," replied the lady, collectedly. 

" Why, you're just the very person for it," reason 
ed Mr. Sikes: "nobody about here knows any thing 
of you." 

"And as I don't want 'em to, neither," replied Nan 
cy, in the same composed manner, " it's rather more 
no than yes with me, Bill." 

" She'll go, Fagin," said Sikes. 

" No, she won't, Fagin," said Nancy. 

" Yes, she will, Fagin," said Sikes. 

And Mr. Sikes was right. By dint of alternate 
threats, promises, and bribes, the lady in question 
was ultimately prevailed upon to undertake the 
commission. She was not, indeed, withheld by the 
same considerations as her agreeable friend ; for, hav 



ing recently removed into the neighborhood of Field 
Lane from the remote but genteel suburb of Ratcliffe, 
she was not .under the same apprehension of being 
recognized by any of her numerous acquaintance. 

Accordingly, with a clean white apron tied over 
her gown, and her curl -papers tucked up under a 
straw bonnet both articles of dress being provided 
from the Jew's inexhaustible stock Miss Nancy 
prepared to issue forth on her errand. 

" Stop a minute, my dear," said the Jew, producing 
a little covered basket. " Carry that in one hand. 
It looks more respectable, my dear." 

" Give her a door-key to carry in her t'other one, 
Fagiu," said Sikes ; " it looks real and geniviue like." 

" Yes, yes, my dear, so it does," said the Jew, hang 
ing a large street-door key on the forefinger of the 
young lady's right hand. " There ; very good ! Very 
good, indeed, my dear!" said the Jew, rubbing his 
hands. 

" Oh, my brother ! My poor, dear, sweet, innocent 
little brother !" exclaimed Nancy, bursting into tears, 
and wringing the little basket and the street-door 
key in an agony of distress. " What has become of 
him! Where have they taken him to ! Oh, do have 
pity, and tell me what's been done with the dear 
boy, gentlemen ; do, gentlemen, if you please, gentle 
men !" 

Having uttered these words in a most lamentable 
and heart-broken tone to the immeasurable delight 
of her hearers Miss Nancy paused, winked to the 
company, nodded smilingly round, and disappeared. 

"Ah! she's a clever girl, my dears," said the Jew, 
turning round to his young friends, and shaking his 
head gravely, as if in mute admonition to them to 
follow the bright example they had just beheld. 

" She's a honor to her sex," said Mr. Sikes, filling 
his glass, and smiting the table with his enormous 
fist. " Here's her health, and wishing they was all 
like her !" 

While these and many other encomiums were be 
ing passed on the accomplished Nancy, that young 
lady made the best of her way to the police-office ; 
whither, notwithstanding a little natural timidity 
consequent upon walking through the streets alone 
and unprotected, she arrived in perfect safety short 
ly afterward. 

Entering by the back way, she tapped softly with 
the key at one of the cell-doors, and listened. There 
was no sound within ; so she coughed and listened 
again. Still there was no reply : so she spoke. 

" Nolly, dear ?" murmured Nancy, in a gentle voice, 
"Nolly?" 

There was nobody inside but a miserable shoeless 
criminal, who had been taken up for playing the 
flute, and who, the offense against society having 
been clearly proved, had been very properly commit 
ted by Mr. Fang to the House of Correction for one 
month; with the appropriate and amusing remark 
that since he had so much breath to spare, it would 
be more wholesomely expended on the tread - mill 
than in a nmsical instrument. He made no answer ; 
being occupied in mentally bewailing the loss of the 
flute, which had been confiscated for the use of the 
county ; so Nancy passed on to the next cell, and 
knocked there. 

" Well !" cried a faint and feeble voice. 



NANCY THE PICTURE. 



45 



" Is there a little boy here ?" inquired Nancy, with 
a preliminary sob. 

' No," replied the voice ; " God forbid !" 

This was a vagrant of sixty-five, who was going to 
prison for not playing the flute ; or, in other words, 
for begging in the streets, and doing nothing for his 
livelihood. In the next cell was another man, who 
was going to the same prison for hawking tin sauce 
pans without a license ; thereby doing something for 
his living, in defiance of the Stamp-office. 

But, as neither of these criminals answered to the 
name of Oliver, or knew any thing about him, Nancy 
made straight up to the bluff' officer in the striped 
waistcoat; and with the most piteous waitings and 
lamentations, rendered more piteous by a prompt and 
efficient use of the street-door key and the little bas 
ket, demanded her own dear brother. 

"7 haven't got him, my dear," said the old man. 

" Where is he ?" screamed Nancy, in a distracted 
manner. 

" Why, the gentleman's got him," replied the of 
ficer. 

" What gentleman ? Oh, gracious heavens ! What 
gentleman f ' exclaimed Nancy. 

In reply to this incoherent questioning, the old 
man informed the deeply-affected sister that Oliver 
had been taken ill in the office, and discharged in 
consequence of a witness having proved the robbery 
to have been committed by another boy not in cus 
tody ; and that the prosecutor had carried him away, 
in an insensible condition, to his own residence; of 
and concerning which, all the informant knew was, 
that it was somewhere at Pentonville, he having 
heard that word mentioned in the directions to the 
coachman. 

In a dreadful state of doubt and uncertainty, the 
agonized young woman staggered to the gate, and 
then, exchanging her faltering walk for a swift run, 
returned, by the most devious and complicated route 
she could think of, to the domicile of the Jew. 

Mr. Bill Sikes no sooner heard the account of the 
expedition delivered, than he very hastily called upon 
the white dog, and, putting on his hat, expeditiously 
departed ; without devoting any time to the formal 
ity of wishing the company good-morning. 

" We must know where he is, my dears ; he must 
be found," said the Jew, greatly excited. " Charley, 
do nothing but skulk about till you bring home some 
news of him! Nancy, my dear, I must have him 
found. I trust to you, my dear to you and the Art 
ful, for every thing ! Stay, stay," added the Jew, 
unlocking a drawer with a shaking hand; "there's 
money, my dears. I shall shut up this shop to-night. 
You'll know Avhere to find me! Don't stop here a 
minute. Not an instant, my dears !" 

With these words, he pushed them from the room ; 
and carefully double-locking and barring the door 
behind them, drew from its place of concealment the 
box which he had unintentionally disclosed to Oliver. 
Then he hastily proceeded to dispose the watches and 
jewelry beneath his clothing. 

A rap at the door startled him in this occupation. 
" Who's there f" he cried in a shrill tone. 

" Me !" replied the voice of the Dodger, through 
the key -hole. 

" What now ?" cried the Jew, impatiently. 



"Is he to be kidnapped to the other ken, Nancy 
says ?" inquired the Dodger. 

" Yes," replied the Jew,"" wherever she lays hands 
on him. Find him, find him out, that's all ! I shall 
know what to do next ; never fear:" 

The boy murmured a reply of intelligence, and 
hurried down stairs after his companions. 

" He has not peached, so far," said the Jew, as he 
pursued his occupation. "If he means to blab us 
among his new friends, we may stop his mouth yet." 



CHAPTER XIV. 

COMPRISING FURTHER PARTICULARS OF OLIVER'S STAY AT 
MR. BROWNLOW'S, WITH THE REMARKABLE PREDICTION 
WHICH ONE MR. GRIMWIG UTTERED CONCERNING HIM, 
WHEN HE WENT OUT ON AN ERRAND. 

OLIVER soon recovering from the fainting-fit into 
which Mr. Brownlow's abrupt exclamation had 
thrown him, the subject of the picture was carefully 
avoided, both by the old gentleman and Mrs. Bed win, 
in the conversation that ensued ; which indeed bore 
no reference to Oliver's history or prospects, but was 
confined to such topics as might amuse without ex 
citing him. He was still too weak to get up to 
breakfast ; but, when he came down into the house 
keeper's room next day, his first act was to cast an 
eager glance at the wall, in the hope of again look 
ing on the face of the beautiful lady. His expecta 
tions were disappointed, however, for the picture had 
been removed. 

"Ah!" said the housekeeper, watching the direc 
tion of Oliver's eyes. " It is gone, you see." 

" I see it is, ma'am," replied Oliver. " Why have 
they taken it away I" 

" It has been taken down, child, because Mr. Brown- 
low said that as it seemed to worry you, perhaps it 
might prevent your getting well, you know," rejoined 
the old lady. 

" Oh, no, indeed. It didn't worry me, ma'am," said 
Oliver. " I liked to see it. I quite loved it." 

" Well, well !" said the old lady, good-humoredly ; 
" you get well as fast as ever you can, dear, and it 
shall be hung up again. There! I promise you 
that ! Now, let us talk about Something else." 

This was all the information Oliver could obtain 
about the picture at that time. As the old lady had 
been so kind to him in his illness, he endeavored to 
think no more of the subject just then; so he list 
ened attentively to a great many stories she told 
him, about an amiable and handsome daughter of 
hers, who was married to an amiable and handsome 
man, and lived in the country ; and about a son, who 
was clerk to a merchant in the West Indies; and 
who was, also, such a good young man, and wrote 
such dutiful letters home four times a year, that it 
brought the tears into her eyes to talk about them. 
When the old lady had expatiated, a long time, on 
the excellences of her children, and the merits of her 
kind good husband besides, who had been dead and 
gone, poor dear soul ! just six-and-twenty years, it 
was time to have tea. After tea she began to teach 
Oliver cribbage, which he learned as quickly as she 
could teach, and at which game they played, with 



46 



OLIVER TWIST. 



great interest and gravity, until it was time for the 
invalid to have some warm wine and water, with a 
slice of dry toast, and then to go cozily to bed. 

They were happy days, those of Oliver's recovery. 
Every thing was so quiet, and neat, and orderly ; 
every body was kind and gentle ; that after the 
noise and turbulence in the midst of which he had 
always lived, it seemed like heaven itself. He was 
uo sooner strong enough to put his clothes on prop 
erly, than Mr. Browulow caused a complete new suit, 
and a new cap, and a new pair of shoes, to be pro 
vided for him. As Oliver was told that he might do 
what he liked with the old clothes, he gave them to 
a servant who had been very kind to him, and asked 
her to sell them to a Jew, and keep the money for her 
self. This she very readily did ; and, as Oliver look 
ed out of the parlor window, and saw the Jew roll 
them up in his bag and walk away, he felt quite de 
lighted to think that they were safely gone, and that 
there was now no possible danger of his ever being 
sMe to wear them again. They were sad rags, to 
tell the truth ; and Oliver had never had a new suit 
before. 

One evening, about a week after the affair of the 
picture, as he was sitting talking to Mrs. Bedwin, 
there came a message down from Mr. Brownlow, that 
if Oliver Twist felt pretty well, he should like to see 
him in his study, and talk to him a little while. 

" Bless us, and save us ! Wash your hands, and let 
me part your hair nicely for you, child," said Mrs. 
Bedwiii. " Dear heart alive ! If we had known he 
would have asked for you, we would have put you 
a clean collar on, and made you as smart as six 
pence !" 

Oliver did as the old lady bade him ; and, although 
she lamented grievously, meanwhile, that there was 
not even time to crimp the little frill that bordered 
his shirt-collar ; he looked so delicate and handsome, 
despite that important personal advantage, that she 
went so far as to say, looking at him with great com 
placency from head to foot, that she really didn't 
think it would have been possible, on the longest 
notice, to have made much difference in him for the 
better. 

Thus encouraged, Oliver tapped at the study door. 
On Mr. Browulow calling to him to come in, he found 
himself in a little backroom quite full of books, with 
a window, looking into some pleasant little gardens. 
There was a table drawn up before the window, at 
which Mr. Brownlow was seated reading. When he 
saw Oliver, he pushed the book away from him, and 
told him to come near the table, and sit down. Oli 
ver complied ; marveling where the people could be 
found to read such a great number of books as seem 
ed to be written to make the world wiser. Which 
is still a marvel to more experienced people than Ol 
iver Twist, every day of their lives. 

" There are a good many books, are there not, my 
boy ?" said Mr. Brownlow, observing the curiosity 
with which Oliver surveyed the shelves that reach 
ed from the floorto the ceiling. 

" A great number, sir," replied Oliver. " I never 
saw so many." 

" You shall read them, if you behave well," said the 
old gentleman kindly ; " and you will like that bet 
ter than looking at the outsides that is, in some 



cases ; because there are books of which the backs 
and covers are by far the best parts." 

" I suppose they are those heavy ones, sir," said 
Oliver, pointing to some large qxiartos, with a good 
deal of gilding about the binding. 

" Not always those," said the old gentleman, pat 
ting Oliver on the head, and smiling as he did so ; 
" there are other equally heavy ones, though of a 
much smaller size. How should you like to grow 
up a clever man, and write books, eh ?" 

" I think I would rather read tiiern, sir," replied 
Oliver. 

" What ! wouldn't you like to be a book- writer ?" 
said the old gentleman. 

Oliver considered a little while ; and at last said, 
he should think it would be a much better thing to be 
a book-seller ; upon which the old gentleman laugh 
ed heartily, and declared he had said a very good 
thing. Which Oliver felt glad to have done, though 
he by no means knew what it was. 

" Well, \vell," said the old gentleman, composing 
his features. "Don't be afraid! We won't make 
an author of you, while there's an honest trade to be 
learned, or brick-making to turn to." 

" Thank you, sir," said Oliver. At the earnest 
manner of his reply, the old gentleman laughed 
again; and said something about a curious instinct, 
which Oliver, not understanding, paid no very great 
attention to. 

" Now," said Mr. Brownlow, speaking if possible in 
a kinder, but at the same time in a much more seri 
ous manner, than Oliver had ever known him assume 
yet ; " I want you to pay great attention, my boy, to 
what I am going to say. I shall talk to you with 
out any reserve ; because I am sure you are as well 
able to understand me as many older persons would 
be." 

" Oh, don't tell me you are going to send me away, 
sir, pray !" exclaimed Oliver, alarmed at the serious 
tone of the old gentleman's commencement. " Don't 
turn me out-of-doors to wander in the streets again. 
Let me stay here, and be a servant. Don't send me 
back to the wretched place I came from. Have 
mercy upon a poor boy, sir !" 

" My dear child," said the old gentleman, moved by 
the warmth of Oliver's sudden appeal ; " you need 
not be afraid of my deserting you, unless you give 
me cause." 

" I never, never will, sir," interposed Oliver. 

" I hope not," rejoined the old gentleman. " I do 
not think you ever will. I have been deceived be 
fore, in the objects whom I have endeavored to ben 
efit ; but I feel strongly disposed to trust you, never 
theless; and I am more interested in your behalf 
than I can well account for, even to myself. The 
persons on whom I have bestowed my dearest love 
lie deep in their graves ; but, although the happi 
ness and delight of my life lie buried there too, I 
have not made a coffin of my heart, and sealed it up 
forever on my best affections. Deep affliction has 
but strengthened and refined them." 

As the old gentleman said this in a low voice 
more to himself than to his companion and as he 
remained silent for a short time afterward, Oliver 
sat quite still. 

" Well, well !" said the old gentleman at length, in 



MR. GRIM WIG. 



47 



a more cheerful tone, " I only say this because you 
have a young heart ; and knowing that I have suf 
fered great pain and sorrow, you will be more care 
ful, perhaps, not to wound me again. You say you 
are an orphan, without a friend in the world; all 
the inquiries I have been able to make confirm this 
statement. Let me hear ' your story ; where you 
come from ; who brought you up ; and how you got 
into the company in which I found you. Speak the 
truth, and you shall not be friendless while I live." 

Oliver's sobs checked his utterance for some min 
utes ; when he was on the point of beginning to re 
late how he had been brought up at the farm, and 
carried to the work-house by Mr. Bumble, a peculiar 
ly impatient little double-knock was heard at the 
street-door ; and the servant, running up stairs, an 
nounced Mr. Grimwig. 

" Is he coming up ?" inquired Mr. Brownlow. 

" Yes, sir," replied the servant. " He asked if there 
were any muffins in the house ; and, when I told him 
yes, he said he had come to tea." 

Mr. Brownlow smiled ; and, turning to Oliver, said 
that Mr. Grimwig was an old friend of his, and he 
must not mind his being a little rough in his man 
ners ; for he was a worthy creature at bottom, as he 
had reason to know. 

" Shall I go down stairs, sir ?" inquired Oliver. 

" No," replied Mr. Brownlow, " I would rather you 
remained here." 

At this moment there walked into the room, sup 
porting himself by a thick stick, a stout old gentle 
man, rather lame in one leg, who was dressed in a 
blue coat, striped waistcoat, nankeen breeches and 
gaiters, and a broad-brimmed white hat, with the 
sides turned up with green. A very small-plaited 
shirt frill stuck out from his waistcoat ; and a very 
long steel watch-chain, with nothing but a key at 
the end, dangled loosely below it. The ends of his 
white neckerchief were twisted into a ball about the 
size of an orange; the variety of shapes into which 
his countenance was twisted defy description. He 
had a manner of screwing his head on one side when 
he spoke, and of looking out of the corners of his 
eyes at the same time, which irresistibly reminded 
the beholder of a parrot. In this attitude he fixed 
himself, the moment he made his appearance; and, 
holding out a small piece of orange-peel at arm's 
length, exclaimed, in a growling, discontented voice, 

'Look here! do you see this! Isn't it a most 
wonderful and extraordinary thing that I can't call 
at a man's house but I find a piece of this poor 
surgeon's-friend on the staircase ? I've been lamed 
witli orange-peel once, and I know orange-peel will 
he niy death at last. It will, sir: orange-peel will 
be my death, or I'll be content to eat my own head, 
sir!'' 

This was the handsome offer with which Mr. Grim- 
wig backed and confirmed nearly every assertion he 
made ; and it was the more singular in his case, be 
cause, even admitting, for the sake of argument, the 
possibility of scientific improvements being ever 
brought to that pass which will enable a gentleman 
to eat his own head in the event of his being so dis 
posed, Mr. Grimwig's head was such a particularly 
large one, that the most sanguine man alive could 
hardly entertain a hope of being able to get through 



it at a sitting to put entirely out of the question a 
very thick coating of powder. 

"I'll eat my head, sir," repeated Mr. Grimwig, 
striking his stick upon the ground. "Halloo! 
what's that?" looking at Oliver, and retreating a 
pace or two. 

" This is young Oliver Twist, whom we were 
speaking about," said Mr. Brownlow. 

Oliver bowed. 

" You don't mean to say that's the boy who had 
the fever, I hope ?" said Mr. Grimwig, recoiling a lit 
tle taore. " Wait a minute ! Don't speak ! Stop " 
continued Mr. Grimwig, abruptly, losing all dread of 
the fever in his triiunph at the discovery ; " that's 
the boy w T ho had the orange ! If that's not the boy, 
sir, who had the orange, and threw this bit of peel 
upon the staircase, I'll eat my head, and his too." 

" No, no, he has not had one," said Mr. Browulow, 
laughing. " Come ! Put down your hat ; and speak 
to my young friend." 

" I feel strongly on this subject, sir," said the 
irritable old gentleman, drawing off his gloves. 
" There's always more or less orange-peel on the 
pavement in our street ; and I know it's put there by 
the surgeon's boy at the corner. A young woman 
stumbled over a bit last night, and fell against my 
garden-railings ; directly she got up I saw her look 
toward his infernal red lamp with the pantomime- 
light. ' Don't go to him,' I called out of the win 
dow, ' he's an assassin ! A man-trap !' So he is. If 
he is not ' Here the irascible old gentleman gave 
a great knock on the ground with his stick ; which 
was always understood by his friends to imply the 
customary offer, whenever it was not expressed in 
words. Then, still keeping his stick in his hand, he 
sat down ; and, opening a double eye-glass, which he 
wore attached to a broad black ribbon, took a view 
of Oliver ; who, seeing that he was the object of in 
spection, colored, and bowed again. 

" That's the boy, is it ?" said Mr. Grimwig, at 
length. 

" That is the boy," replied Mr. Brownlow. 

" How are you, boy," said Mr. Grimwig. 

"A great deal better, thank you, sir," replied Oli 
ver. 

Mr. Browiilow, seeming to apprehend that his sin 
gular friend was about to say something disagreea 
ble, asked Oliver to step down stairs and tell Mrs. 
Bed win they were ready for tea ; which, as he did 
not half like the visitor's manner, he was very happy 
to do. 

"He is a nice-looking boy, is he not?" inquired 
Mr. Brownlow. 

" I don't know," replied Mr. Grimwig, pettishly. 

" Don't know ?" 

"No. I don't know. I never see any difference 
in boys. I only know two sorts of boys. Mealy 
boys, and beef-faced boys." 

"And which is Oliver?" 

"Mealy. I know a friend who has a beef-faced 
boy a fine boy, they call him ; with -a round head, 
and fed cheeks, and glaring eyes ; a horrid boy ; with 
a body and limbs that appear to be swelling out of 
the seams of his blue clothes ; with the voice of a pi 
lot, and the appetite of a wolf. I know him ! The 
wretch !" 



48 



OLIVER TWIST. 



" Come," said Mr. Brownlow, " these are not the 
characteristics of young Oliver Twist ; so he needn't 
excite your wrath." 

" They are not," replied Mr. Grimwig. " He may 
have worse." 

Here Mr. Brownlow coughed impatiently ; which 
appeared to afford Mr. Grimwig the most exquisite 
delight. 

" He may have worse, I say," repeated Mr. Grim- 
wig. "Where does he come from? Who is he? 
What is he ? He has had a fever. What of that ? 
Fevers are not peculiar to good people ; are they ? 
Bad people have fevers sometimes ; haven't they, eh ? 
I knew a man who was hung in Jamaica for mur 
dering his master. He had had a fever six times ; 
he wasn't recommended to mercy on that account. 
Pooh! nonsense!" 

Now, the fact was that, in the inmost recesses of 
his own heart, Mr. Grimwig was strongly disposed to 
admit that Oliver's appearance and manner were un 
usually prepossessing ; but he had a strong appetite 
for contradiction, sharpened on this occasion by the 
finding of the orange-peel ; and, inwardly determin 
ing that no man should dictate to him whether a 
boy was well-looking or not, he had resolved, from 
the first, to oppose his friend. When Mr. Brownlow 
admitted that on no one point of inquiry could he 
yet return a satisfactory answer; and that he had 
postponed any investigation into Oliver's previous 
history until he thought the boy was strong enough 
to bear it ; Mr. Grimwig chuckled maliciously. And 
he demanded, with a sneer, whether the housekeep 
er was in the habit of counting the plate at night ; 
because, if she didn't find a table-spoon or two miss 
ing some sunshiny morning, why, he would be con 
tent to and so forth. 

All this, Mr. Brownlow, although himself some 
what of an impetuous gentleman, knowing his 
friend's peculiarities, bore with great good -humor. 
As Mr. Grimwig, at tea, was graciously pleased to 
express his entire approval of the muffins, matters 
went on very smoothly ; and Oliver, who made one 
of the party, began to feel more at his ease than he 
had yet done in the fierce old gentleman's presence. 

"And when are you going to hear a full, true, and 
particular account of the life and adventures of Oli 
ver Twist f ' asked Grimwig of Mr. Brownlow, at the 
conclusion of the meal : looking sideways at Oliver, 
as he resumed the subject. 

" To-morrow morning," replied Mr. Brownlow. " I 
would rather he was alone with me at the time. 
Come up to me to-morrow morning at ten o'clock, 
my dear." 

" Yes, sir," replied Oliver. He answered with some 
hesitation, because he was confused by Mr. Grimwig's 
looking so hard at him. 

" 111 tell you what," whispered that gentleman to 
Mr. Brownlow ; " he won't come up to you to-morrow 
morning. I saw him hesitate. He is deceiving you, 
my good friend." 

"I'll swear he is not," replied Mr. Brownlow, 
warmly. 

" If he is not," said Mr. Grimwig, " I'll " and down 
went the stick. 

"I'll answer for that boy's truth with my life!" 
said Mr. Browulow, knocking the table. 



"And I for his falsehood with my head!" rejoined 
Mr. Grimwig, knocking the table also. 

"We shall see," said Mr. Brownlow, checking his 
rising anger. 

"We will," replied Mr. Grimwig, with a provoking 
smile; "we will." 

As fate would have it, Mrs. Bedwin chanced to 
bring in, at this moment, a small parcel of books, 
which Mr. Brownlow had that morning purchased 
of the identical book-stall keeper, who has already 
figured in this history ; having laid them on the ta 
ble, she prepared to leave the room. 

" Stop the boy, Mrs. Bedwiu !" .said Mr. Brownlow ; 
" there is something to go back." 

" He has gone, sir," replied Mrs. Bedwin. 

" Call after him," said Mr. Browulow ; " it's par 
ticular. He is a poor man, and they are not paid 
for. There are some books to be taken back, too." 

The street-door was opened. Oliver ran one way, 
and the girl ran another : and Mrs. Bedwiu stood on 
the step and screamed for the boy ; but there was 
no boy in sight. Oliver and the girl returned, in a 
breathless state, to report that there were no tidings 
of him. 

" Dear me, I am very sorry for that !" exclaimed 
Mr. Brownlow ; " I particularly wished those books 
to be returned to-night." 

" Send Oliver with them," said Mr. Grimwig, with 
an ironical smile ; " he will be sure to deliver them 
safely, you know." 

" Yes ; do let me take them, if you please, sir," said 
Oliver. " I'll run all the way, sir." 

The old gentleman was just going to say that Oli 
ver should not go out on any account, when a most 
malicious cough from Mr. Grimwig determined him 
that he should ; and that, by his prompt discharge 
of the commission, he should prove to him the injus 
tice of his suspicious, on this head at least, at once. 

" You shall go, my dear," said the old gentleman. 
" The books are on a chair by my table. Fetch them 
down." 

Oliver, delighted to be of use, brought down the 
books under his arm in a great bustle ; and waited, 
cap in hand, to hear what message he was to take. 

" You are to say," said Mr. Brownlow, glancing 
steadily at Grimwig ; " you are to say that you have 
brought those books back ; and that you have come 
to pay the four pound ten I owe him. This is a five- 
pound note, so you will have to bring me back ten 
shillings change." 

" I won't be ten minutes, sir," replied Oliver, ea 
gerly. Having buttoned up the bank-note in his 
jacket pocket, and placed the books carefully under 
his arm, he made a respectful bow, and left the room. 
Mrs. Bedwin followed him to the street-door, giving 
him many directions about the nearest way, and the 
name of the book-seller, and the name of the street, 
all of which Oliver said he clearly understood. Hav 
ing superadded many injunctions to be sure and not 
take cold, the old lady at length permitted him to 
depart. 

" Bless his sweet face !" said the old lady, looking 
after him. " I can't bear, somehow, to let him go out 
of my sight." 

At this moment Oliver looked gayly round, and 
nodded before he turned the coiner. The old lady 



MUTUAL INTEREST. 



49 



smilingly returned his salutation, and, closing the 
door, went back to her own room. 

" Let ine see ; he'll be back in twenty minutes, at 
the longest," said Mr. Brownlow, pulling out his 
watch and placing it on the table. " It will be dark 
by that time." 

" Oh ! you really expect him to come back, do 
you f ' inquired Mr. Griuiwig. 

" Don't you ?" asked Mr. Brownlow, smiling. 

The spirit of contradiction was strong in Mr. Grim- 
wig's breast at the moment; and it was rendered 
stronger by his friend's confident smile. 

" No," he said, smiting the table with his fist, " I 
do not. The boy has a new suit of clothes on his 
back, a set of valuable books under his arm, and a 
five -pound note in his pocket. He'll join his old 
friends the thieves, and laugh at you. If ever that 
boy returns to this house, sir, I'll eat my head." 

With these words he drew his chair closer to the 
table ; and there the two friends sat, in silent ex 
pectation, with the watch between them. 

It is worthy of remark, as illustrating the impor 
tance we attach to our own judgments, and the pride 
with which we put forth our most rash and hasty 
conclusions, that, although Mr. Grimwig was not by 
any means a bad-hearted man, and though he would 
have been unfeiguedly sorry to see his respected 
friend duped and deceived, he really did most ear 
nestly and strongly hope at that moment that Oli 
ver Twist might not come back. 

It grew so dark, that the figures on the dial-plate 
were scarcely discernible ; but there the two old gen 
tlemen continued to sit, in silence, with the watch 
between them. 



CHAPTEE XV. 

SHOWING HOW VERT FOND OF OLIVER TWIST THE MERBT 
OLD JEW AND MISS NANCY WERE. 

IN the obscure parlor of a low public-house, in the 
filthiest part of Little Saffron Hill a dark and 
gloomy den, where a flaring gas-light burned all day 
in the winter -time, and where no ray of sun ever 
shone in the summer there sat, brooding over a lit 
tle pewter measure and a small glass, strongly im 
pregnated with the smell of liquor, a man in a vel 
veteen coat, drab shorts, half -boots, and stockings, 
whom even by that dim light no experienced agent 
of police would have hesitated to recognize as Mr. 
William Sikes. At his feet sat a white-coated, red- 
eyed dog ; who occupied himself, alternately, in wink 
ing at his master with both eyes at the same time, 
and in licking a large, fresh cut on one side of his 
mouth, which appeared to be the result of some re 
cent conflict. 

" Keep quiet, you warmint ! Keep quiet !" said 
Mr. Sikes, suddenly breaking silence. Whether his 
meditations were 'so intense as to be disturbed by 
the dog's winking, or whether his feelings were so 
wrought upon by his reflections that they required 
all the relief derivable from kicking an unoffending 
animal to allay them, is matter for argument and 
consideration. Whatever was the cause, the effect 
was a kick and a curse, bestowed upon the dog si 
multaneously. 



Dogs are not generally apt to revenge injuries in 
flicted upon them by their masters ; but Mr. Sikes's 
dog, having faults of temper in common with his 
owner, and laboring, perhaps, at this moment, under 
a powerful sense of injury, made no more ado but at 
once fixed his teeth in one of the half-boots. Hav 
ing given it a hearty shake, he retired, growling, un 
der a form ; just escaping the. pewter measure which 
Mr. Sikes leveled at his head. 

" You would, would you ?'' said Sikes, seizing the 
poker in one hand, and deliberately opening with 
the other a large clasp-knife, which he drew from 
his pocket. " Come here, you born devil ! Come 
here ! D'ye hear ?" 

The dog no doubt heard, because Mr. Sikes spoke 
in the very harshest key of a very harsh voice ; but, 
appearing to entertain some unaccountable objection 
to having his throat cut, he remained where he was, 
and growled more fiercely than before : at the same 
time grasping the end of the poker between his teeth, 
and biting at it like a wild beast. 

This resistance only infuriated Mr. Sikes the more ; 
who, dropping on his knees, began to assail the ani 
mal most furiously. The dog jumped from right to 
left, and from left to right : snapping, growling, and 
barking ; the man thrust and swore, and struck and 
blasphemed ; and the struggle was reaching a most 
critical point for one or other ; when, the door sud 
denly opening, the dog darted out, leaving Bill Sikes 
with the poker and clasp-knife in his hands. 

There must always be two parties to a quarrel, 
says the old adage. Mr. Sikes, being disappointed 
of the dog's participation, at once transferred his 
share in the quarrel to the new-comer. 

"What the devil do you come in between me and 
my dog for ?" said Sikes, with a fierce gesture. . 

" I didn't know, my dear, I didn't know," replied 
Fagin, humbly ; for the Jew was the new-comer. 

" Didn't know, you white-livered thief!" growled 
Sikes. " Couldn't you hear the noise ?" 

" Not a sound of it, as I'm a living man, Bill," re 
plied the Jew. 

" Oh no ! You hear nothing, you don't," retorted 
Sikes with a fierce sneer. " Sneaking in and out, so 
as nobody hears how you come or go ! I wish you 
had been the dog, Fagin, half a minute ago." 

"Why ?" inquired the Jew, with a forced smile. 

" 'Cause the Government, as cares for the lives of 
such' men as you, as haven't half the pluck of curs, 
let's a man kill a dog how he likes," replied Sikes, 
shutting up the knife with a very expressive look ; 
" that's why." 

The Jew nibbed his hands ; and, sitting down at 
the table, affected to laugh at the pleasantry of his 
friend. He was obviously very ill at ease, how 
ever. 

" Grin away," said Sikes, replacing the poker, and 
surveying him with savage contempt ; " grin away. 
You'll never have the laugh at me, though, unless it's 
behind a night-cap. I've got the upper hand over 
you, Fa^in ; and, d me, I'll keep it. There ! If I 
go, you {.{O ; so take care of me." 

" Well, well, my dear," said the Jew, " I know all 
that ; we- we have a mutual interest, Bill a mu 
tual interest." 

" Humph !" said Sikes, as if he thought the inter- 



50 



OLIVER TWIST. 



est lay rather more on the Jew's side than on his. 
"Well, what have you got to say to me ?" 

" It's all passed safe through the melting-pot," re 
plied Fagin, "and this is your share. It's rather 
more than it ought to be, my dear ; but as I know 
you'll do me a good turn another time, and " 

" Stow that gammon !" interposed the robber, im 
patiently. " Where is it ? Hand over !" 

" Yes, yes, Bill ; give me time, give me time," re 
plied the Jew, soothingly. " Here it is ! All safe !" 
As he spoke, he drew forth an old cotton handker 
chief from his breast ; and untying a large knot in 
one corner, produced a small brown-paper packet. 
Sikes, snatching it from him, hastily opened it, and 
proceeded to count the sovereigns it contained. 

" This is all, is it ?" inquired Sikes. 

"All," replied the Jew. 

"You haven't opened the parcel and swallowed 
one or two as you come along, have you ?" inquired 
Sikes, suspiciously. " Don't put on an injured look 
at the question : you've done it many a time. Jerk 
the tinkler." 

These words, in plain English, conveyed an injunc 
tion to ring the bell. It was answered by another 
Jew, younger than Fagin, but nearly as vile and re 
pulsive in appearance. 

Bill Sikes merely pointed to the empty measure. 
The Jew, perfectly understanding the hint, retired 
to fill it; previously exchanging a remarkable look 
with Fagin, who raised his eyes for an instant, as if 
in expectation of it, and shook his head in reply ; so 
slightly that the action would have been almost im 
perceptible to an observant third person. It was 
lost upon Sikes, who was stooping at the moment to 
tie the boot-lace which the dog had torn. Possibly, 
if he had observed the brief interchange of signals, 
he might have thought that it boded no good to him. 

" Is any body here, Barney ?" inquired Fagin ; 
speaking, now that Sikes was looking on, without 
raising his eyes from the ground. 

" Dot a shoul," replied Barney ; whose words, 
whether they came from the heart or not, made 
their way through the nose. 

" Nobody ?" inquired Fagin, in a tone of surprise ; 
which perhaps might mean that Barney was at lib 
erty to tell the truth. 

" Dobody but Biss Dadsy," replied Barney. 

" Nancy !" exclaimed Sikes. " Where ? Strike me 
blind, if I don't honor that 'ere girl, for her native 
talents." 

" She's bid havid a plate of boiled beef id the bar," 
replied Barney. 

" Send her here," said Sikes, pouring out a glass 
of liquor. " Send her here." 

Barney looked timidly at Fagin, as if for permis 
sion : the Jew remaining silent, and not lifting his 
eyes from the ground, he retired ; and presently re 
turned, ushering in Nancy ; who was decorated with 
the bonnet, apron, basket, and street-door key, com 
plete. 

" You are on the scent, are you, Nancy ?" inquired 
Sikes, proffering the glass. 

" Yes, I am, Bill," replied the young lady, dispos 
ing of its contents ; " and tired enough of it I am, 
too. The young brat's been ill and confined to the 
crib; and " 



" Ah, Nancy, dear !" said Fagin, looking up. 

Now, whether a peculiar contraction of the Jew's 
red eyebrows, and a half-closing of his deeply-set 
eyes, warned Miss Nancy that she was disposed to be 
too communicative, is not a matter of much impor 
tance. The fact is all we need care for here ; and 
the fact is, that she suddenly checked herself, and 
with several gracious smiles upon Mr. Sikes, turned 
the conversation to other matters. In about ten min 
utes' time, Mr. Fagin was seized with a fit of cough 
ing ; upon which Nancy pulled her shawl over her 
shoulders, and declared it was time to go. Mr. Sikes, 
finding that he was walking a short part of her way 
himself, expressed his intention of accompanying 
her ; they went away together, followed, at a little 
distance, by the dog, who slunk out of a back-yard 
soon as his master was out of sight. 

The Jew thrust his head out of the room door when 
Sikes had left it ; looked after him as he walked up 
the dark passage ; shook his clenched fist ; muttered 
a deep curse ; and then, with a horrible grin, re-seat 
ed himself at the table ; where he was soon deeply 
absorbed in the interesting pages of the Hue-and- 
Cry. 

Meanwhile, Oliver Twist, little dreaming that he 
was within so very short a distance of the merry old 
gentleman, was on his way to the book-stall. When 
he got into Clerkenwell, he accidentally turned down 
a by-street which was not exactly in his way ; but 
not discovering his mistake until he had got half 
way down it, and knowing it must lead in the right 
direction, he did not think it worth while to turn 
back; and so marched on, as quickly as he could, 
with the books under his arm. 

He was walking along, thinking how happy and 
contented he ought to feel ; and how much he would 
give for only one look at poor little Dick, who, 
starved and beaten, might be weeping bitterly at 
that very moment ; when he was startled by a young 
woman screaming out very loud, " Oh, my dear broth 
er !" And he had hardly looked up, to see what the 
matter was, when he was stopped by having a pair 
of arms thrown tight round his neck. 

" Don't !" cried Oliver, struggling. " Let go of me ! 
Who is it ? What are you stopping me for ?" 

The only reply to this was a great number of loud 
lamentations from the young woman Avho had em 
braced him ; and who had a little basket and a street- 
door key in her hand. 

" Oh my gracious !" said the young woman, " I've 
found him ! Oh ! Oliver ! Oliver ! Oh you naughty 
boy, to make me suffer sich distress on your account ! 
Come home, dear, come. Oh, I've found him ! Thank 
gracious goodness heavins, I've found him !" With 
these incoherent exclamations, the young woman 
burst into another fit of crying, and got so dreadful 
ly hysterical, that a couple of women who came up 
at the moment asked a butcher's boy with a shiny 
head of hair anointed with suet, who was also look 
ing on, whether he didn't think he had better run for 
the doctor. To which, the butcher's boy, who ap 
peared of a lounging, not to say indolent disposition, 
replied that he thought not. 

" Oh, no, no, never mind," said the young woman, 
grasping Oliver's hand ; " I'm better now. Come 
home directly, you cruel boy ! Come !" 



HIS RECAPTURE. 



51 



"What's the matter, ma'am ?" inquired, one of the 
women. 

" Oh, ma'am," replied the young woman, " he ran 
away, near a month ago, from his parents, who are 
hard-working and respectable people ; and went and 
joined a set of thieves and bad characters ; and al 
most broke his mother's heart." 

" Young wretch !" said one woman. 

" Go home, do, you little brute !" said the other. 

" I am not," replied Oliver, greatly alarmed. " I 
don't -know her. I haven't any sister, or father and 
mother either. I'm an orphan; I live at Penton- 
ville." 



Help ! help !" cried Oliver, struggling in the man's 
powerful grasp. 

" Help !" repeated the man. " Yes ; I'll help you, 
you young rascal ! What books are these ? You've 
been a -stealing 'em, have you? Give 'em here." 
With these words, the man tore the volumes from 
his grasp, and struck him on the head. 

" That's right !" cried a looker-on, from a garret- 
window. " That's the only way of bringing him to 
his senses !" 

"To be sure !" cried a sleepy-faced carpenter, cast 
ing an approving look at the garret-window. 

" It'll do him good !" said the two women. 




YOU AKE ON TUB SCENT, ARE YOU, NAMOY ?" 



" Only hear him, how he braves it out !" cried the 
young woman. 

" Why, it's Nancy !" exclaimed Oliver ; who now 
saw her face for the first time ; and started back in 
irrepressible astonishment. 

" You see he knows me !" cried Nancy, appealing 
to the by-standers. " He can't help himself. Make 
him come home, there's good people, or he'll kill his 
dear mother and father, and break my heart !" 

"What the devil's this?" said a man, bursting out 
of a beer-shop, with a white dog at his heels ; " young 
Oliver ! Come home to your poor mother, you young 
dog ! Come home directly." 

"I don't belong to them. I don't know them. 



"And he shall have it, too !" rejoined the man, ad 
ministering another blow, and seizing Oliver by the 
collar. " Come on, you young villain ! Here, Bull's- 
eye, mind him, boy ! Mind him !" 

Weak with recent illness ; stupefied by the blows 
and the suddenness of the attack ; terrified by the 
fierce growling of the dog, and the brutality of the 
man ; overpowered by the conviction of the by-stand 
ers that he really was the hardened little wretch he 
was described to be ; what could one poor child do ! 
Darkness had set in ; it was a low neighborhood ; no 
help was near; resistance was useless. In another 
moment he was dragged into & labyrinth of dark 
narrow courts, and was forced along them at a pace 



52 



OLIVER TWIST. 



which rendered the few cries he dared to give utter 
ance to, unintelligible. It was of little moment, in 
deed, whether they were intelligible or no ; for there 
was nobody to care for them, had they been ever so 

plain. 

****** 

The gas -lamps were lighted; Mrs. Bedwin was 
waiting anxiously at the open door ; the servant had 
run up the street twenty times to see if there were 
any traces of Oliver ; and still the two old gentlemen 
sat, perseveringly, in the dark parlor, with the watch 
between them. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

RELATES WHAT BECAME OF OLIVER TWIST AFTER HE 
HAD BEEN CLAIMED BY NANCY. 

THE narrow streets and courts at length termina 
ted in a large open space, scattered about which 
were pens for beasts, and other indications of a cat 
tle-market. Sikes slackened his pace when they 
reached this spot, the girl being quite unable to slip- 
port any longer the rapid rate at which they had 
hitherto walked. Turning to Oliver, he roughly 
commanded him to take hold of Nancy's hand. 

"Do you hear?" growled Sikes, as Oliver hesita 
ted, and looked round. 

They were in a dark corner, quite out of the track 
of passengers. Oliver saw but too plainly that re 
sistance would be of no avail. He held out his hand, 
which Nancy clasped tight in hers. 

" Give me the other," said Sikes, seizing Oliver's 
unoccupied hand. " Here, Bull's-eye !" 
The dog looked up and growled. 
" See here, boy !" said Sikes, putting his other hand 
to Oliver's throat ; " if he speaks ever so soft a word, 
hold him ! D'ye mind !" 

The dog growled again ; and licking his lips, eyed 
Oliver as if he were anxious to attach himself to his 
windpipe without delay. 

" He's as willing as a Christian, strike me blind if 
he isn't!" said Sikes, regarding the animal with a 
kind of grim and ferocious approval. "Now you 
know what you've got to expect, master, so call away 
as quick as you like; the dog will soon stop that 
game. Get on, young 'un !" 

Bull's-eye wagged his tail in acknowledgment of 
this unusually endearing form of speech ; and, giving 
vent to another admonitory growl for the benefit of 
Oliver, led the way onward. 

It was Smithfield that they were crossing, al 
though it might have been Grosvenor Square for 
any thing Oliver knew to the contrary. The night 
was dark and foggy. The lights in the shops could 
scarcely struggle through the heavy mist, which 
thickened every moment and shrouded the streets 
and houses in gloom; rendering the strange place 
still stranger in Oliver's eyes ; and making his un 
certainty the more dismal and depressing. 

They had hurried on a few paces, when a deep 
church-bell struck the hour. With its first stroke 
his two conductors stopped, and turned their heads 
in the direction whence the sound proceeded. 

" Eight o'clock, Bill," said Nancy, when the bell 
ceased. 



" What's the good of telling me that ; I can hear 
it, can't I ?" replied Sikes. 

" I wonder whether they can hear it," said Nancy. 

" Of course they can," replied Sikes. " It was Bar- 
tlemy time when I was shopped ; and there waru't 
a penny trumpet in the fair as I couldn't hear the 
squeaking on. Arter I was locked up for the night, 
the row and din outside made the thundering old 
jail so silent, that I could almost have beat my brains 
out against the iron plates of the door." 

" Poor fellows !" said Nancy, who still had her face 
turned toward the quarter in which the bell had 
sounded. " Oh, Bill, such fine young chaps as them !" 

" Yes ; that's all you women think of," answered 
Sikes. " Fine young chaps ! Well, they're as good 
as dead, so it don't much matter." 

With this consolation Mr. Sikes appeared to re 
press a rising tendency to jealousy, and, clasping 
Oliver's wrist more firmly, told him to step out 
again. 

" Wait a minute !" said the girl, " I wouldn't hurry 
by if it was you that was coming out to be hung the 
next time eight o'clock struck, Bill. I'd walk round 
and round the place till I dropped, if the snow was 
on the ground, and I hadn't a shawl to cover me." 

"And what good would that do?" inquired the 
unsentimental Mr. Sikes. " Unless you could pitch 
over a file and twenty yards of good stout rope, you 
might as well be walking fifty mile off, or not walk 
ing at all, for all the good it would do me. Come 
on, and don't stand preaching there." . 

The girl burst into a laugh, drew her shawl more 
closely around her, and theywalked away. But Ol 
iver felt her hand tremble, and, looking up in her 
face as they passed a gas-lamp, saw that it had turn 
ed a deadly white. 

They walked on by little-frequented and dirty 
ways, for a full half hour, meeting very few people, 
and those appearing from their looks to hold much 
the same position in society as Mr. Sikes himself. At ' 
length they turned into a very filthy, narrow street, 
nearly full of old-clothes shops ; the dog running for 
ward, as if conscious that there was no further occa 
sion for his keeping on guard, stopped before the 
door of a shop that was closed and apparently un- 
tenanted; the house was in a ruinous condition, and 
on the door was nailed a board, intimating that it 
was to let ; which looked as if it had hung there for 
many years. 

"All right," cried Sikes, glancing cautiously about. 

Nancy stooped below the shutters, and Oliver 
heard the sound of a bell. They crossed to the op 
posite side of the street, and stood for a few moments 
under a lamp. A noise, as if a sash-window were 
gently raised, was heard; and soon afterward the 
door softly opened. Mr. Sikes then seized the terri 
fied boy by the collar with very little ceremony, and 
all three were quickly inside the house. 

The passage was perfectly dark. They waited, 
while the person who had let them in chained and 
barred the door. 

"Any body here?" inquired Sikes. 

"No," replied a voice, which Oliver thought he 
had heard before. 

" Is the old 'un here ?" asked the robber. 

" Yes," replied the voice ; " and precious down in 



RESTORED TO PLEASANT COMPANY. 



53 



the month he has been. Won't he be glad to see 
you? Oh, no!" 

The style of this reply, as well as the voice which 
delivered it, seemed familiar to Oliver's ears; but it 
was impossible to distinguish even the form of the 
speaker in the darkness. 

" Let's have a glim," said Sikes, " or we shall go 
breaking our necks, or treading on the dog. Look 
after your legs if you do!" 

" Stand still a moment, and I'll get you one," re 
plied the voice. The receding footsteps of the speak 
er were heard ; and, in another minute, the form of 
Mr. John Dawkius, otherwise the artful Dodger, ap 
peared. He bore in his right hand a tallow candle 
stuck in the end of a cleft stick. 

The young gentleman did not stop to bestow any 
other mark of recognition upon Oliver than a humor 
ous grin ; but, turning away, beckoned the visitors 
to follow him down a flight of stairs. They crossed 
an empty kitchen ; and, opening the door of a low, 
earthy-smelling room, which seemed to have been 
built in a small back-yard, were received with a 
shout of laughter. 

" Oh, my wig, my wig !" cried Master Charles 
Bates, from whose lungs the laughter had proceed 
ed; "here he is! oh, cry, here he is! Oh, Fagin, 
look at him ! Fagin, do look at him ! I can't bear 
it ; it is such a jolly game, I can't bear it. Hold me, 
somebody, while I laugh it out." 

With this irrepressible ebullition of mirth, Master 
Bates laid himself flat on the floor, and kicked con 
vulsively for five minutes, in an ecstasy of facetious 
joy. Then jumping to his feet, he snatched the cleft 
stick from the Dodger ; and, advancing to Oliver, 
viewed him round and round ; while the Jew, tak 
ing off' his night-cap, made a great number of low 
bows to the bewildered boy. The Artful, meantime, 
who Avas of a rather saturnine disposition, and sel 
dom gave way to merriment when it interfered with 
business, rifled Oliver's pockets with steady assi 
duity. 

" Look at his togs, Fagin !" said Charley, putting 
the light so close to his new jacket as nearly to set 
him on fire. "Look at his togs! Superfine cloth, 
and the heavy swell cut ! Oh, my eye, what a game ! 
And his books, too ! Nothing but a gentleman, Fa- 
gin !" 

" Delighted to see you looking so well, my dear," 
said the Jew, bowing with mock humility. " The 
Artful shall give you another suit, my dear, for fear 
you should spoil that Sunday one. Why didn't you 
write, my dear, and say you were coming ? We'd 
have got something warm for supper." 

At this Master Bates roared again, so loud that 
Fagin himself relaxed, and even the Dodger smiled ; 
but as the Artful drew forth the five-pound note at 
that instant, it is doubtful whether the sally or the 
discovery awakened his merriment. 

" Halloo ! what's that ?" inquired Sikes, stepping 
forward as the Jew seized the note. " That's mine, 
Fagin." 

"No, no, my dear," said the Jew. "Mine, Bill, 
mine. You shall have the books." 

" If that ain't mine," said Bill Sikes, putting on 
his hat with a determined air " mine and Nancy's, 
that is I'll take the boy back again." 



The Jew started. Oliver started too, though from 
a very different cause ; for he hoped that the dispute 
might really end in his being taken back. 

" Come ! Hand over, will you ?" said Sikes. 

" This is hardly fair, Bill ; hardly fair, is it, Nan 
cy ?" inquired the Jew. 

" Fair or not fair," retorted Sikes, " hand over, I 
tell you ! Do you think Nancy and me has got noth 
ing else to do with our precious time but to spend it 
in scouting arter, and kidnapping, every young boy 
as gets grabbed through you? Give it here, you 
avaricious old skeleton give it here !" 

With this gentle remonstrance, Mr. Sikes plucked 
the note from between the Jew's finger and thumb ; 
and looking the old man coolly in the face, folded it 
up small, and tied it in his neckerchief. 

" That's for our share of the trouble," said Sikes ; 
" and not half enough, neither. You may keep the 
books, if you're fond of reading. If you ain't, sell 
'em." 

" They're very pretty," said Charley Bates, who, 
with sundry grimaces, had been affecting to read 
one of the volumes in question : " beautiful writing, 
isn't it, Oliver ?" At sight of the dismayed look with 
which Oliver regarded his tormentors, Master Bates, 
who was blessed with a lively sense of the ludicrous, 
fell into another ecstasy, more boisterous than the 
first. 

" They belong to the old gentleman," said Oliver, 
wringing his hands ; " to the good, kind old gentle 
man who took me into his house, and had me nursed, 
when I was near dying of the fever. Oh, pray send 
them back ; send him back the books and money. 
Keep me here all my life long ; but pray, pray send 
them back. He'll think I stole them ; the old lady 
all of them who were so kind to me will think I 
stole them. Oh, do have mercy upon me, and send 
them back !" 

With those words, which were uttered with all 
the energy of passionate grief, Oliver fell upon his 
knees at the Jew's feet, and beat his hands together 
in perfect desperation. 

" The boy's right," remarked Fagin, looking cov 
ertly round, and knitting his shaggy eyebrows into 
a hard knot. " You're right, Oliver, you're right ; 
they icill think you have stolen 'em. Ha! ha!" 
chuckled the Jew, rubbing his hands ; " it couldn't 
have happened better if we had chosen our time !" 

" Of course it couldn't," replied Sikes ; " I kuow'd 
that, directly I see him coming through Clerkenwell, 
with the books under his arm. It's all right enough. 
They're soft-hearted psalm-singers, or they wouldn't 
have taken him in at all ; and they'll ask no ques 
tions after him, fear they should be obliged to prose 
cute, and so get him lagged. He's safe enough." 

Oliver had looked from one to the other, while 
these words were being spoken, as if he were bewil 
dered, and could scarcely understand what passed ; 
but when Bill Sikes concluded, he jumped suddenly 
to his feet, and tore wildly from the room, uttering 
shrieks for help, which made the bare old house echo 
to the roof. 

" Keep back the dog, Bill !" cried Nancy, springing 
before the door, and closing it, as the Jew and his 
two pupils darted out iu pursuit. " Keep back the 
dog ; he'll tear the boy to pieces !" 



54 



OLIVEE TWIST. 



" Serve him right !" cried Sikes, struggling to dis 
engage himself from the girl's grasp. " Stand off 
from me, or I'll split your head against the Avail !" 

" I don't care for that, Bill, I don't care for that," 
screamed the girl, struggling violently with the man : 
" the child sha'n't be torn down by the dog, unless 
you kill me first." 

"Sha'n't he!" said Sikes, setting his teeth. "I'll 
soon do that, if you don't keep off." 

The housebreaker flung the girl from him to the 
farther end of the room, just as the Jew and the two 
boys returned, dragging Oliver among them. 

"What's the matter here?" said Fagin, looking 
round. 

" The girl's gone mad, I think," replied Sikes, sav 
agely. 

" No, she hasn't," said Nancy, pale and breathless 
from the scuffle ; " no, she hasn't, Fagiu ; don't think 
it." 

" Then keep quiet, will you ?" said the Jew, with 
a threatening look. 

"No, I won't do that, neither," replied Nancy, 
speaking very loud. " Come ! What do you think 
of that?" 

Mr. Fagin was sufficiently well acquainted with 
the manners and customs of that particular species 
of humanity to which Nancy belonged to feel toler 
ably certain that it would be rather unsafe to pro 
long any conversation with her at present. With 
the view of diverting the attention of the company, 
he turned to Oliver. 

" So you wanted to get away, my dear, did you ?" 
said the Jew, taking up a jagged and knotted club 
which lay in a corner of the fire-place ; " eh ?" 

Oliver made no reply. But he watched the Jew's 
motions, and breathed quickly. 

*'' Wanted to get assistance ; called for the police, 
did you ?" sneered the Jew, catching the boy by the 
arm. " We'll cure you of that, my young master." 

The Jew inflicted a smart blow on Oliver's shoul 
ders with the club ; and was raising it for a second, 
when the girl, rushing forward, wrested it from his 
hand. She flung it into the fire, with a force that 
brought some of the glowing coals whirling out into 
the room. 

" I won't stand by and see it done, Fagin," cried 
the girl. " You've got the boy, and what more would 
you have ? Let him be let him be or I shall put 
that mark on some of you, that will bring me to the 
gallows before my time." 

The girl stamped her foot violently on the floor as 
she vented this tlireat ; and with her lips compress 
ed, and her hands clenched, looked alternately at the 
Jew and the other robber : her face quite colorless 
from the passion of rage into which she had gradu 
ally worked herself. 

" Why, Nancy," said the Jew, in a soothing tone ; 
after a pause, during which he and Mr. Sikes had 
stared at one another in a disconcerted manner; 
" you you're more clever than ever to-night. Ha ! 
ha ! my dear, you are acting beautifully." 

" Am I ?" said the girl. " Take care I don't overdo 
it. You will be the worse for it, Fagin, if I do ; and 
so I tell you in good time to keep clear of me." 

There is something about a roused woman : espe 
cially if she add to all her other strong passions the 



fierce impulses of recklessness and despair: which 
few men like to provoke. The Jew saw that it 
would be hopeless to affect any further mistake re 
garding the reality of Miss Nancy's rage ; and, shrink 
ing involuntarily back a few paces, cast a glance, 
half imploring and half cowardly, at Sikes : as if to 
hint that he was the fittest person to pursue the dia 
logue. 

Mr. Sikes, thus mutely appealed to ; and possibly 
feeling his personal pride and influence interested in 
the immediate reduction of Miss Nancy to reason; 
gave utterance to about a couple of score of curses 
and threats, the rapid production of which reflected 
great credit on the fertility of his invention. As 
they produced no visible effect on the object against 
whom they were discharged, however, he resorted to 
more tangible arguments. 

" What do you mean by this ?" said Sikes ; back 
ing the inquiry with a very common imprecation 
concerning the most beautiful of human features; 
which, if it were heard aboA'e, only once out of ev 
ery fifty thousand times that it is uttered below, 
would render blindness as common a disorder as 
measles : " what do you mean by it ? Burn my body ! 
Do you know who you are, and what you are ?" 

" Oh, yes, I know all about it," replied the girl, 
laughing hysterically, and shaking her head from 
side to side with a poor assumption of indifference. 

"Well, then, keep quiet," rejoined Sikes, with a 
growl like that he was accustomed to use when ad 
dressing his dog, " or I'll quiet you for a good long 
time to come." 

The girl laughed again, even less composedly than 
before ; and, darting a hasty look at Sikes, turned 
her face aside, and bit her lip till the blood came. 

" You're a nice one," added Sikes, as he surveyed 
her with a contemptuous air, "to take up the hu 
mane and gen-teel side! A pretty subject for the 
child, as you call him, to make a friend of!" 

" God Almighty help me, I am !" cried the girl pas 
sionately ; " and I wish I had been struck dead in the 
street, or changed places with them we passed so 
near to-night, before I had lent a hand in bringing 
him here. He's a thief, a liar, a devil, all that's bad, 
from this night forth. Isn't that enough for the old 
Avretch, without blows ?" 

" Come, come, Sikes," said the Jew, appealing to 
him in a reinonstratory tone, and motioning toward 
the boys, who were eagerly attentive to all that 
passed ; " we must have civil words civil words, 
Bill." 

" Civil words !" cried the girl, whose passion was 
frightful to see. "Civil words, you villain! Yes, 
you deserve 'em from me. I thieved for you when I 
was a child not half as old as this !" pointing to Oli 
ver. " I have been in the same trade, and in the 
same service, for twelve years since. Don't you kuow 
it ? Speak out ! Don't you know it ?" 

" Well, well," replied the Jew, with an attempt at 
pacification ; " and, if you have, it's your living." 

"Ay, it is!" returned the girl; not speaking, but 
pouring out the words in one continuous and vehe 
ment scream. " It is my living, and the cold, wet, 
dirty streets are my home ; and you're the wretch 
that drove me to them long ago, and that'll keep me 
there, day and night, day and night, till I die !" 



MR. BUMBLE, THE BEADLE. 



55 



" I shall do you a mischief!" interposed the Jew, 
goaded by these reproaches ; " a mischief worse than 
that, if you say much more !" 

The girl said nothing more ; but tearing her hair 
and dress in a transport of passion, made such a rush 
at the Jew as would probably have left signal marks 
of her revenge upon him, had not her wrists been 
seized by Sikes at the right moment ; upon which 
she made a few ineffectual struggles, and fainted. 

" She's all right now," said Sikes, laying her down 
in a corner. " She's uncommon strong in the arms, 
when she's up in this way." 

The Jew wiped his forehead, and smiled, as if it 
were a relief to have the disturbance over ; but nei 
ther he, nor Sikes, nor the dog, nor the boys, seemed 
to consider it in any other light than a common oc 
currence incidental to business. 

" It's the worst of having to do with women," said 
the Jew, replacing his club ; " but they're clever, and 
we can't get on, in our line, without 'em. Charley, 
show Oliver to bed." 

" I suppose he'd better not wear his best clothes 
to-morrow, Fagin, had he ?" inquired Charley Bates. 

" Certainly not," replied the Jew, reciprocating the 
grin with which Charley put the question. 

Master Bates, apparently much delighted with his 
commission, took the cleft stick, and led Oliver into 
an adjacent kitchen, where there were two or three 
of the beds on which he had slept before ; and here, 
with many uncontrollable bursts of laughter, he pro 
duced the identical old suit of clothes which Oliver 
had so much congratulated himself upon leaving off 
at Mr. Browulow's ; and the accidental display of 
which, to Fagin, by the Jew who purchased them, 
had been the very first clue received of his where 
about. 

" Pull off the smart ones," said Charley, " and I'll 
give 'em to Fagin, to take care of. What fun it is !" 

Poor Oliver unwillingly complied. Master Bates 
rolling up the new clothes under his arm, departed 
from the room, leaving liver in the dark, and lock 
ing the door behind him. 

The noise of Charley's laughter, and the voice of 
Miss Betsy, who opportunely arrived to throw water 
over her friend, and perform other feminine offices 
for the promotion of her recovery, might have kept 
many people awake under more happy circumstances 
than those in which Oliver was placed. But ho was 
sick and weary ; and ho soon fell sound asleep. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

OLIVER'S DESTINY CONTINUING UNPROPITIOUS, BRINGS A 
GREAT MAN TO LONDON TO INJURE HIS REPUTATION. 

IT is the custom on the stage, in all good murder 
ous melodramas, to present the tragic and the 
comic scenes, in as regular alternation, as the layers 
of red and white in a side of streaky bacon. The 
hero sinks upon his straw bed, weighed down by 
fetters and misfortunes ; in the next scene, his faith 
ful but unconscious squire regales the audience with 
a comic song. We behold, with throbbing bosoms, 
the heroine in the grasp of a proud and ruthless 
baron, her virtue and her life alike in danger, draw 



ing forth her dagger to preserve the one at the cost 
of the other ; and just as our expectations are wrought 
up to the highest pitch, a whistle is heard, and we 
are straightway transported to the great hall of the 
castle ; where a gray-headed seneschal sings a funny 
chorus with a funnier body of vassals, who are free 
of all sorts of places, from church vaults to palaces, 
and roam about in company, carolling perpetually. 

Such changes appear absurd ; but they are not so 
unnatural as they would seem at first sight. The 
transitions in real life from well-spread boards to 
death-beds, and from mourning weeds to holiday 
garments, are not a whit less startling ; only there 
we are busy actors, instead of passive lookers-on, 
which makes a vast difference. The actors in the 
mimic, life of the theatre are blind to violent transi 
tions and abrupt impulses of passion or feeling, 
which, presented before the eyes of mere spectators, 
are at once condemned as outrageous and prepos 
terous. 

As'sudden shiftings of the scene, and rapid changes 
of time and place, are not only sanctioned in books 
by long usage, but are by many considered as the 
great art of authorship an author's skill in his craft, 
being, by such critics, chiefly estimated with rela 
tion to the dilemmas in which he leaves his charac 
ters at the end of every chapter this brief introduc 
tion to the present one may perhaps be deemed un 
necessary. If so, let it be considered a delicate inti 
mation on the part of the historian that he is going 
back to the town in which Oliver Twist was born ; 
the reader taking it for granted that there are good 
and substantial reasons for making the journey, or 
he would not be invited to proceed upon such an ex 
pedition. 

Mr. Bumble emerged at early morning from the 
work-house gate, and walked with portly carriage 
and commanding steps up the High Street. He was 
in the full bloom and pride of beadlehood ; his cocked 
hat and coat were dazzling in the morning sim ; he 
clutched his cane with the vigorous tenacity of 
health and power. Mr. Bumble always carried his 
head high ; but this morning it was higher than 
usual. There was an abstraction in his eye, an ele 
vation in his air, which might have warned an ob 
servant stranger that thoughts were passing in the 
beadle's mind too great for utterance. 

Mr. Bumble stopped not to converse with the 
small shop-keepers and others who spoke to him 
deferentially, as he passed along. He merely re 
turned their salutations with a wave of his hand, 
and relaxed not in his dignified pace until he reach 
ed the farm where Mrs. Mann tended the infant pau 
pers with parochial care. 

" Drat that beadle !" said Mrs. Maun, hearing the 
well-known shaking at the garden-gate. " If it isn't 
him at this time in the morning ! Lauk, Mr. Bum 
ble, only think of its being you! Well, dear me, it 
is a pleasure, this is ! Come into the parlor, sir, 
please." 

The first sentence was addressed to Susan ; and 
the exclamations of delight were uttered to Mr. Bum 
ble, as the good lady unlocked the garden-gate, and 
showed him, with great attention and respect, into 
the house. 

" Mrs. Maun," said Mr. Bumble not sitting upon, 



56 



OLIVER TWIST. 



or dropping himself into a seat, as any common jack 
anapes would, but letting himself gradually and 
slowly down into a chair " Mrs. Mann, ma'am, good- 
morning." 

" Well, and good-morning to you, sir," replied Mrs. 
Mann, with many smiles ; " and hoping you find 
yourself well, sir." 

" So-so, Mrs. Mann," replied the beadle. "A poro- 
chial life is not a bed of roses, Mrs. Mann." 

"Ah, that it isn't indeed, Mr. Bumble," rejoined 
the lady. And all the infant paupers might have 
chorused the rejoinder with great propriety, if they 
had heard it. 

"A porochial life, ma'am," continued Mr. Bumble, 
striking the table with his cane, " is a life of worrit, 
and vexation, and hardihood ; but all public charac 
ters, as I may say, must suffer prosecution." 

Mrs. Mann, not very well knowing what the beadle 
meant, raised her hands with a look of sympathy, 
and sighed. 

"Ah! You may well sigh, Mrs. Mann!" said the 
beadle. 

Finding she had done right, Mrs. Mann sighed 
again: evidently to the satisfaction of the public 
character, who, repressing a complacent smile by 
looking sternly at his cocked hat, said, 

" Mrs. Mann, I'm a-going to London." 

"Lauk, Mr. Bumble!'' cried Mrs. Mann, starting 
back. 

" To London, ma'am," resumed the inflexible bea 
dle, " by coach. I and two paupers, Mrs. Mann ! A 
legal action is a-coming on about a settlement ; and 
the board has appointed me me, Mrs. Mann to 
depose to the matter before the Quarter-sessions at 
Clerkinwell. And I very much question," added Mr. 
Bumble, drawing himself up, "'whether the Clerkin 
well Sessions will not find themselves in the wrong 
box before they have done with me." 

" Oh ! you mustn't be too hard upon them, sir," 
said Mrs. Mann, coaxiugly. 

"The Clerkinwell Sessions have brought it upon 
themselves, ma'am," replied Mr. Bumble ; " and if the 
Clerkinwell Sessions find that they come olf rather 
worse than they expected, the Clerkinwell Sessions 
have only themselves to thank." 

There was so much determination and depth of 
purpose about the menacing manner in which Mr. 
Bumble delivered himself of these words, that Mrs. 
Mann appeared quite awed by them. At length she 
said, 

" You're going by coach, sir ? I thought it was 
always usual to send them paupers in carts." 

" That's when they're ill, Mrs. Mann." said the bea 
dle. " We put the sick paupers into open carts in 
the rainy weather, to prevent their taking cold." 

"Oh!" said Mrs. Mann. 

"The opposition coach contracts for these two, 
and takes them cheap," said Mr. Bumble. "They 
are both in a very low state, and we find it would 
come two pound cheaper to move 'em than to bury 
r em that is, if we can throw 'em upon another par 
ish, which I think we shall be able to do, if they 
don't die upon the road to spite us. Ha ! ha ! ha !" 

When Mr. Bumble had laughed a little while, his 
eyes again encountered the cocked hat, and he be 
came grave. 



" We are forgetting business, ma'am," said the bea 
dle ; " here is your porochial stipend for the month." 

Mr. Bumble produced some silver money rolled up 
in a paper from his pocket-book, and requested a re 
ceipt ; which Mrs. Mann wrote. 

" It's very much blotted, sir," said the farmer of 
infants ; " but it's formal enough, I dare say. Thank 
you, Mr. Bumble, sir, I am very much obliged to you, 
I'm sure." 

Mr. Bumble nodded blandly, in acknowledgment 
of Mrs. Mann's courtesy ; and inquired how the chil 
dren were. 

" Bless their dear little hearts !" said Mrs. Mann, 
with emotion, " they're as well as can be, the dears ! 
Of course, except the two that died last week. And 
little Dick." 

" Isn't that boy no better ?" inquired Mr. Bumble. 

Mrs. Mann shook her head. 

" He's a ill-conditioned, wicious, bad-disposed po 
rochial child that," said Mr. Bumble angrily. " Where 
is he ?" 

" I'll bring him to you in one minute, sir," replied 
Mrs. Mann. " Here, you Dick !" 

After some calling, Dick was discovered. Having 
had his face put under the pump, and dried upon 
Mrs. Mann's gown, he was led into the awful pres 
ence of Mr. Bumble, the beadle. 

The child was pale and thin ; his cheeks were sunk 
en : and his eyes large and bright. The scanty par 
ish dress, the livery of his misery, hung loosely on his 
feeble body ; and his young limbs had wasted away 
like those of an old man. 

Such was the little being who stood trembling be 
neath Mr. Bumble's glance ; not daring to lift his 
eyes from the floor ; and dreading even to hear the 
beadle's voice. 

" Can't you look at the gentleman, you obstinate 
boy ?" said Mrs. Mann. 

The child meekly raised his eyes, and encountered 
those of Mr. Bumble. 

" What's the matter with you, porochial Dick t" 
inquired Mr. Bumble, with well-timed jocularity. 

" Nothing, sir," replied the child, faintly. 

" I should think not," said Mrs. Mann, who had, of 
course, laughed very much at Mr. Bumble's humor. 
" You want for nothing, I'm sure." 

" I should like" faltered the child. 

" Heyday !" interposed Mrs. Mann, " I suppose you're 
going to say that you do want for something, now ? 
Why, you little wretch " 

"Stop, Mrs. Mann, stop!" said the beadle, raising 
his hand with a show of authority. "Like what, sir, 
eh?" 

" I should like," faltered the child, " if somebody 
that can write would put a few words down for me 
on a piece of paper, and fold it up and seal it, and 
keep it for me, after I am laid in the ground." 

" Why, what does the boy mean ?" exclaimed Mr. 
Bumble, on whom the earnest manner and wan as 
pect of the child had made some impression, accus 
tomed as he was to such things. "What do you 
mean, sir ?" 

" I should like," said the child, " to leave my dear 
love to poor Oliver Twist ; and to let him know how 
often I have sat by myself and cried to think of his 
wandering about in the dark nights with nobody to 



BUMBLE AFTER THE GUINEAS. 



57 



help him. Aud I should like to tell him," said the 
child, pressing his small hands together, and speak 
ing with great fervor, " that I was glad to die when 
I was very young ; for, perhaps, if I had lived to be 
a man, and had grown old, my little sister, who is 
in heaven, might forget me, or be unlike me ; and it 
would be so much happier if we were both children 
there together." 

Mr. Bumble surveyed the little speaker from head 
to foot with indescribable astonishment ; and, turn 
ing to his companion, said, " They're all in one story, 
Mrs. Mann. That out-dacious Oliver has demogal- 
ized them all !" 

" I couldn't have believed it, sir !" said Mrs. Mann, 
holding up her hands, and looking malignantly at 
Dick. " I never see such a hardened little wretch!" 

" Take him away, ma'am !" said Mr. Bumble, impe 
riously. " This must be stated to the board, Mrs. 
Maim." 

" I hope the gentlemen will understand that it isn't 
my fault, sir ?" said Mrs. Mann, whimpering pathet 
ically. 

" They shall understand that, ma'am ; they shall 
be acquainted with the true state of the case," said 
Mr. Bumble. " There ; take him away ; I can't bear 
the sight on him." 

Dick was immediately taken away and locked up 
in the coal -cellar. Mr. Bumble shortly afterward 
took himself off, to prepare for his journey. 

At six o'clock next morning, Mr. Bumble having 
exchanged his cocked hat for a round one, and in 
cased his person in a blue great-coat with a cape to 
it took his place on the outside of the coach, accom 
panied by the criminals whose settlement was dis 
puted ; with whom, in due course of time, he arrived 
in London. He experienced no other crosses on the 
way than those which originated in the perverse be 
havior of the two paupers, who persisted in shiver 
ing and complaining of the cold, in a manner which, 
Mr. Bumble declared, caused his teeth to chatter in 
his head, and made him feel quite uncomfortable, al- 
thougn ne had a great-coat on. 

Having disposed of these evil-minded persons for 
the night, Mr. Bumble sat himself down in the house 
at which the coach stopped ; and took a temperate 
dinner of steaks, oyster-sauce, and porter. Putting 
a glass of hot gin-and-water on the chimney-piece, 
he drew his chair to the fire ; and, with sundry moral 
reflections on the too-prevalent sin of discontent and 
complaining, composed himself to read the paper. 

The very first paragraph upon which Mr. Bumble's 
eye rested was the following advertisement : 

"FIVE GUINEAS REWARD. 

" Whereas a young boy, named Oliver Twist, absconded, or 
was enticed, on Thursday evening last, from his home, at Pen- 
tonville, and has not since been heard of. The above reward 
will be paid to any person who will give such information as 
will lead to the discovery of the said Oliver Twist, or tend to 
throw any light upon his previous history, in which the adver 
tiser is, for many reasons, warmly interested." 

And then followed a full description of Oliver's 
dn-ss, person, appearance, and disappearance ; with 
the name and address of Mr. Brownlow at full length. 

Mr. Bumble opened his eyes ; read the advertise 
ment, slowly and carefully, three several times ; and 



in something more than five minutes was on his way 
to Pentouville ; having actually, in his excitement, 
left the glass of hot gin-and-water nutasted. 

" Is Mr. Brownlow at home ?" inquired Mr. Bumble 
of the girl who opened the door. 

To this inquiry* the girl returned the not uncom 
mon, but rather evasive reply of, " I don't know ; 
where do you come from ?" 

Mr. Bumble no sooner uttered Oliver's name, in ex 
planation of his errand, than Mrs. Bedwin, who had 
been listening at the parlor-door, hastened into the 
passage in a breathless state. 

" Come in, come in," said the old lady : " I knew we 
should hear of him. Poor dear ! I knew we should. 
I was certain of it. Bless his heart ! I said so, all 
along." 

Having said this, the worthy old lady hurried back 
into the parlor again ; and seating herself on a sofa, 
burst into tears. The girl, who was not quite so sus 
ceptible, had run up stairs meanwhile ; and now re 
turned with a request that Mr. Bumble would follow 
her immediately ; which he did. 

He was shown into the little back study, where sat 
Mr. Brownlow and his friend Mr. Grimwig, with de 
canters and glasses before them. The latter gentle 
man at once burst into the exclamation : 

"A beadle ! A parish beadle, or I'll eat my head !" 

"Pray don't interrupt just now," said Mr. Brown- 
low. " Take a seat, will you ?" 

Mr. Bumble sat himself down, quite confounded by 
the oddity of Mr. Grimwig's manner. Mr. Brownlow 
moved the lamp, so as to obtain an uninterrupted 
view of the beadle's countenance ; and said, with a 
little impatience, 

" Now, sir, you come in consequence of having seen 
the advertisement ?" 

" Yes, sir," said Mr. Bumble. 

"And you are a beadle, are you not ?" inquired Mr. 
Grimwig. 

" I am a porochial beadle, gentlemen," rejoined Mr. 
Bumble, proudly. 

" Of course," observed Mr. Grimwig, aside, to his 
friend. " I knew he was. A beadle all over!" 

Mr. Brownlow gently shook his head to impose si 
lence on his friend, and resumed : 

" Do you know where this poor boy is now ?" 

" No more than nobody," replied Mr. Bumble. 

" Well, what do you know of him ?" inquired the 
old gentleman. " Speak out, my friend, if you have 
any thing to say. What do you know of him f ' 

" You don't happen to know any good of him, do 
you ?" said Mr. Grimwig, caustically ; after an atten 
tive perusal of Mr. Bumble's features. 

Mr. Bumble, catching at the inquiry very quickly, 
shook his head with portentous solemnity. 

" You see ?" said Mr. Grimwig, looking triumph 
antly at Mr. Brownlow. 

Mr. Brownlow looked apprehensively at Mr. Bum 
ble's pursed-up countenance ; and requested him to 
communicate what he knew regarding Oliver, in as 
few words as possible. 

Mr. Bumble put down his hat ; unbuttoned his 
coat ; folded his arms ; inclined his head in a retro 
spective manner ; and after a few moments' reflec 
tion, commenced his story. 

It would be tedious if given in the beadle's words, 



58 



OLIVER TWIST. 



occupying, as it did, some twenty minutes in the tell 
ing ; but the sum and substance of it was, That Ol 
iver was a foundling, born of low and vicious par 
ents. That he had, from his birth, displayed no 
better qualities than treachery, ingratitude, and mal 
ice. That he had terminated his brief career in the 
place of his birth, by making a sanguinary and cow 
ardly attack on an unoffending lad, and running 
away in the night-time from his master's house. In 
proof of his really being the person he represented 
himself, Mr. Bumble laid upon the table the papers 
he had brought to town. Folding his arms again, 
he then awaited Mr. Brownlow's observations. 

" I fear it is all too true," said the old gentleman 
sorrowfully, after looking over the papers. " This is 



" It can't be, sir. It can not be," said the old lady, 
energetically. 

"I tell you he is," retorted the old gentleman. 
"What do you mean by can't bef We have just 
heard a full account of him from his birth; and he 
has been a thorough-paced little villain all his life." 

" I never will believe it, sir," replied the old lady, 
firmly. " Never !" 

" You old women never believe any thing but 
quack doctors and lying story-books," growled Mr. 
Grimwig. " I knew it all along. Why didn't you 
take my advice in the beginning ; you would, if he 
hadn't had a fever, I suppose, eh ? He was interest 
ing, wasn't he ? Interesting ! Bah !" And Mr. Grim- 
wig poked the fire with a flourish. 




"A BEADLE! A PABISU BEADLE, OE I'LL EAT MY HEAD." 



not mucn for your intelligence ; but I would gladly 
have given you treble the money, if it had been fa 
vorable to the boy." 

. It is not improbable that if Mr. Bumble had been 
possessed of this information at an earlier period of 
the interview, he might have imparted a very differ 
ent coloring to his little history. It was too late to 
do it now, however ; so he shook his head gravely, 
and, pocketing the five guineas, withdrew. 

Mr. Brownlow paced the room to and fro for some 
minutes ; evidently so ' much disturbed by the bea 
dle's tale, that even Mr. Grimwig forbore to vex him 
further. 

At length he stopped, and rang the bell violently. 

" Mrs. Bed win," said Mr. Brownlow, when the house 
keeper appeared; "that boy, Oliver, is an impostor." 



" He was a dear, grateful, gentle child, sir," retort 
ed Mrs. Bedwiu, indignantly. " I know what chil 
dren are, sir, and have done these forty years ; and 
people who can't say the same, shouldn't say auy 
thing about them. That's my opinion !" 

This was a hard hit at Mr. Grimwig, Avho was a 
bachelor. As it extorted nothing from that gentle 
man but a smile, the old lady tossed her head, and 
smoothed down her apron preparatory to another 
speech, when she was stopped by Mr. Brownlow. 

" Silence !" said the old gentleman, feigning an 
anger he was far from feeling. " Never let me hear 
the boy's name again. I rang to tell you that. 
Never. Never, on any pretense, mind ! You may 
leave the room, Mrs. Bedwiu. Remember! I am iu 
earnest." 



A LONELY PLACE TO LIFE 



59 



There were sad hearts at Mr. Brownlow's that 
night. 

Oliver's heart sank within him, when he thought 
of his good kind friends ; it was well for him that he 
could not know what they had heard, or it might 
have broken outright. 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

HOW OLIVER PASSED HIS TIME IN THE IMPROVING SO 
CIETY OF HIS REPUTABLE FRIENDS. 

ABOUT noon next day, when the Dodger and 
Master Bates had gone out to pursue their cus 
tomary avocations, Mr. Fagiu took the opportunity 
of reading Oliver a long lecture on the crying sin of 
ingratitude : of which he clearly demonstrated he 
had been guilty, to no ordinary extent, in willfully 
absenting himself from the society of his anxious 
friends; and, still more, in endeavoring to escape 
from them after so much trouble and expense had 
been incurred in his recovery. Mr. Fagin laid great 
stress on the fact of his having taken Oliver in, and 
cherished him, when, without his timely aid, he might 
have perished with hunger ; and he related the dis 
mal and affecting history of a young lad whom, in 
his philanthropy, he had succored under parallel cir 
cumstances, but who, proving unworthy of his confi 
dence and evincing a desire to communicate with the 
police, had unfortunately come to be hanged at the 
Old Bailey one morning. Mr. Fagin did not seek to 
conceal his share in the catastrophe, but lamented 
with tears in his eyes that the wrong-headed and 
treacherous behavior of the young person in ques 
tion had rendered it necessary that he should become 
the victim of certain evidence for the crown : which, 
if it were not precisely true, was indispensably nec 
essary for the safety of him (Mr. Fagin) and a few 
select friends. Mr. Fagin concluded by drawing a 
rather disagreeable picture of the discomforts of 
hanging ; and, with great friendliness and politeness 
of manner, expressed his anxious hopes that he might 
never be obliged to submit Oliver Twist to that un 
pleasant operation. 

Little Oliver's blood ran cold, as he listened to the 
Jew's words, and imperfectly comprehended the dark 
threats conveyed in them. That it was possible even 
for justice itself to confound the innocent with the 
guilty when they were in accidental companionship, 
he knew already ; and that deeply-laid plans for the 
destruction of inconveniently knowing or over-com 
municative persons, had been really devised and car 
ried out by the old Jew on more occasions than one, 
he thought by no means unlikely, when he recol 
lected the general nature of the altercations between 
that gentleman and Mr. Sikes, which seemed to bear 
reference to some foregone conspiracy of the kind. 
As he glanced timidly up, and met the Jew's search 
ing look, he felt that his pale face and trembling 
limbs were neither unnoticed nor unrelished by that 
wary old gentleman. 

The Jew, smiling hideously, patted Oliver on the 
head, and said, that if he kept himself quiet, and ap 
plied himself to business, he saw they would be very 
good friends yet. Then, taking his hat, and covering 



himself with an old patched great-coat, he went out, 
and locked the room-door behind him. 

And so Oliver remained all that day, and for the 
greater part of many subsequent days, seeing no 
body between early morning and midnight, and left 
during the long hours to commune with his own 
thoughts ; which, never failing to revert to his kind 
friends, and the opinion they must long ago have 
formed of him, were sad indeed. 

After the lapse of a week or so, the Jew left the 
room-door unlocked ; and he was at liberty to wan 
der about the house. 

It was a very dirty place. The rooms up stairs 
had great high wooden chimney-pieces and large 
doors, with paneled walls and cornices to the ceil 
ings ; which, although they were black with neglect 
and dust, were ornamented in various ways. From 
all of these tokens Oliver concluded that a long time 
ago, before the old Jew was born, it had belonged to 
better people, and had perhaps been quite gay and 
handsome : dismal and dreary as it looked now. 

Spiders had built their webs in the angles of the 
walls and ceilings; and sometimes, when Oliver 
walked softly into a room, the mice would scamper 
across the floor and run back terrified to their holes. 
With these exceptions, there was neither sight nor 
sound of any living thing ; and often, when it grew 
dark, and he was tired of wandering from room to 
room, he would crouch in the comer of the passage 
by the street-door, to be as near living people as he 
could ; and would remain there, listening and count 
ing the hours, until the Jew or the boys returned. 

In all the rooms the mouldering shutters were fast 
closed : the bars which held them were screwed tight 
into the wood; the only light which was admitted 
stealing its Way through round holes at the top ; 
which made the rooms more gloomy, and filled them 
with strange shadows. There was a back-garret 
window with rusty bars outside, which had no shut 
ter ; and out of this Oliver often gazed with a mel 
ancholy face for hours together ; but nothing was to 
be descried from it but a confused and crowded mass 
of house-tops, blackened chimneys, and gable-ends. 
Sometimes, indeed, a grizzly head might be seen 
peering over the parapet-wall of a distant house: 
but it was quickly withdrawn again ; and as the 
window of Oliver's observatory was nailed down, 
and dimmed with the rain and smoke of years, it was 
as much as he could do to make out the forms of the 
different objects beyond, without making any at 
tempt to be seen or heWd which he had as much 
chance of being, as if he had lived inside the ball of 
St. Paul's Cathedral. 

One afternoon, the Dodger and Master Bates being 
engaged out that evening, the first -named young 
gentleman took it into his head to evince some anx 
iety regarding the decoration of his person (to do 
him justice, this was by no means an habitual weak 
ness with him) ; and, with this end and aim, he con 
descendingly commanded Oliver to assist him in his 
toilet straightway. 

Oliver was but too glad to make himself useful 
too happy to have some faces, however bad, to look 
upon too desirous to "conciliate those about him 
when he could honestly do so to throw any objec 
tion in the way of this proposal. So he at once ex- 



60 



OLIVER TWIST. 



pressed his readiness; and, kneeling on the floor, 
while the Dodger sat upon the table so that he could 
take his foot in his lap, he applied himself to a proc 
ess which Mr. Daw kins designated as "japanning 
his trotter-cases." The phrase, rendered into plain 
English, siguifieth, cleaning his boots. 

Whether it was the sense of freedom and inde 
pendence which a rational animal may be supposed 
to feel when he sits on a table in an easy attitude 
smoking a pipe, swinging one leg carelessly to and 
fro, and having his boots cleaned all the time, with 
out even the past trouble of having taken them off, 
or the prospective misery of putting them on, to dis 
turb his reflections ; or whether it was the goodness 
of the tobacco that soothed the feelings of the Dodg 
er, or the mildness of the beer that mollified his 
thoughts ; he was evidently tinctured, for the nonce, 
with a spice of romance and enthusiasm, foreign to 
his general nature. He looked down on Oliver, with 
a thoughtful countenance, for a brief space; and 
then, raising his head, and heaving a gentle sigh, 
said, half in abstraction, and half to Master Bates : 

" What a pity it is he isn't a prig !" 

"Ah!" said Master Charles Bates, "he don't know 
what's good for him." 

The Dodger sighed again, and resumed his pipe, 
as did Charley Bates. They both smoked, for some 
seconds, in silence. 

" I suppose you don't even know what a prig is ?" 
said the Dodger, mournfully. 

" I think I know that," replied Oliver, looking up. 
" It's a th ; you're one, are you not ?" inquired Oli 
ver, checking himself. 

" I am," replied the Dodger. " I'd scorn to be 
any thing else." Mr. Dawkins gave his hat a fero 
cious cock, after delivering this sentiment, and look 
ed at Master Bates, as if to denote that he would 
feel obliged by his saying any thing to the con 
trary. 

" I am," repeated the Dodger. " So's Charley. So's 
Fagin. So's Sikes. So's Nancy. So's Bet. So we 
all are, down to the dog. And he's the downiest one 
of the lot!" 

"And the least given to peaching," added Charley 
Bates. 

" He wouldn't so much as bark in a witness-box, 
for fear of committing himself; no, not if you tied 
him up in one, and left him there without wittles 
for a fortnight," said the Dodger. 

" Not a bit of it," observed Charley. 

"He's a rum dog. Don't he look fierce at any 
strange cove that laughs or sings when he's in com 
pany !" pursued the Dodger. "Won't he growl at 
all, when he hears a fiddle playing ! And don't he 
hate other dogs as ain't of his breed ! Oh, no !" 

" He's an out-and-out Christian," said Charley. 

This was merely intended as a tribute to the ani 
mal's abilities, but it was an appropriate remark in 
another sense, if Master Bates had only known it ; 
for there are a good many ladies and gentlemen, 
claiming to be out-and-out Christians, between 
whom and Mr. Sikes's dog there exist strong and 
singular points of resemblance. 

"Well, well," said the Dodger, recurring to the 
point from which they had strayed ; with that mind- 
fulness of his profession which influenced all his pro 



ceedings. "This hasn't got any thing to do with 
young Green here." 

" No more it has," said Charley. "Why don't you 
put yourself under Fagiu, Oliver ?" 

"And make your fortim' out of hand?" added the 
Dodger, with a grin. 

"And so be able to retire on your property, and do 
the gen-teel, as I mean to, in the very next leap-year 
but four that ever comes, and the forty-second Tues 
day in Trinity-week," said Charles Bates. 

" I don't like it," rejoined Oliver, timidly ; " I wish 
they would let me go. I I would rather go." 

" And Fagiu would rathw not !" rejoined Charley. 

Oliver knew this too well ; but thinking it might 
be dangerous to express his feelings more openly, he 
only sighed, and went on with his boot-cleaning. 

" Go !" exclaimed the Dodger. " Why, where's 
your spirit ? Don't you take any pride out of your 
self? Would you go and be dependent on your 
friends ?" 

" Oh, blow that !" said Master Bates, drawing two 
or three silk handkerchiefs from his pocket, and 
tossing them into a cupboard, " that's too mean, 
that is." 

" / couldn't do it," said the Dodger, with an air of 
haughty disgust. 

" You can leave your friends, though," said Oliver, 
with a half smile ; " and let them be punished for 
Avhat you did." 

" That," rejoined the Dodger, with a wave of his 
pipe " that was all out of consideration for Fagiu, 
'cause the traps know that we work together, and he 
might have got into trouble if we hadn't made our 
lucky ; that was the move, wasn't it, Charley f 

Master Bates nodded assent, and would have 
spoken, but the recollection of Oliver's flight came 
so suddenly upon him, that the smoke he was inhal 
ing got entangled with a laugh, and went up into 
his head, and down into his throat ; and brought on 
a fit of coughing and stamping, about five minutes 
long. 

" Look here !" said the Dodger, drawing forth a 
handful of shillings and halfpence. " Here's a jolly 
life ! What's the odds where it comes from I Here, 
catch hold; there's plenty more where they were 
took from. You won't, won't you ? Oh, you pre 
cious flat !" 

" It's naughty, ain't it, Oliver ?" inquired Charley 
Bates. " He'll come to be scragged, won't he f ' 

" I don't know what that means," replied Oliver. 

" Something in this way, old feller," said Charley. 
As he said it, Master Bates caught up an end of his 
neckerchief, and, holding it erect in the air, dropped 
his head on his shoulder, and jerked a curious sound 
through his teeth ; thereby indicating, by a lively 
pantomimic representation, that scragging and hang 
ing were one and the same thing. 

" That's what it means," said Charley. " Look how 
he stares, Jack! I never did see such prime compa 
ny as that 'ere boy ; he'll be the death of me, I know 
he will." Master Charles Bates, having laughed 
heartily again, resumed his pipe with tears in his 
eyes. 

" You've been brought up bad," said the Dodger, 
surveying his boots with much satisfaction when Ol 
iver had polished them. " Fagin will make some- 



IMPROVING ADVICE. 



61 



thing of you, though, or you'll be the first he ever ' 
had that turned out unprofitable. You'd better be 
gin at once ; for you'll come to the trade long before 
you think of it ; and you're only losing time, Oliver.'' 

Master Bates backed this advice with sundry mor 
al admonitions of his own: which, being exhausted, 
he and his friend Mr. Dawkins launched into a glow 
ing description of the numerous pleasures incidental 
to the life they led, interspersed with a variety of 
hints to Oliver that the best thing he could do 
would be to secure Fagin's favor without more de 
lay, by the means which they themselves had em 
ployed to gain it. 

"And always put this in your pipe, Nolly," said the 
Dodger, as the Jew was heard unlocking the door 
above, " if you don't take fogies and tickers : 

" What's the good of talking in that way ?" inter 
posed Master Bates: " he don't know what you mean." 

" If you don't take pocket - handkechers and 
watches," said the Dodger, reducing his conversation 
to the level of Oliver's capacity, "some other cove 
will ; so that the coves that lose 'em will be all the 
worse, and you'll be all the worse too, and nobody 
half a ha'p'orth the better, except the chaps wot 
gets them and you've just as good a right to them 
as they have." 

" To be sura, to be sure !" said the Jew, who had 
entered, unseen by Oliver. " It all lies in a nutshell, 
my dear in a nutshell, take the Dodger's word for 
it. Ha ! ha ! ha ! He understands the catechism of 
his trade." 

The old man rubbed his hands gleefully together, 
as he corroborated the Dodger's reasoning in these 
terms ; and chuckled with delight at his pupil's pro- 
ticiency. 

The conversation proceeded no further at this time, 
for the Jew had returned home accompanied by Miss 
Betsy, and a gentleman whom Oliver had never seen 
before, but who was accosted by the Dodger as Tom 
Chitling; and who having lingered on the stairs to 
exchange a few gallantries with the lady, now made 
his appearance. 

Mr. Chitling was older in years than the Dodger ; 
having perhaps numbered eighteen winters; but 
there was a degree of deference in his deportment 
toward that young gentleman which seemed to in 
dicate that he felt himself conscious of a slight in 
feriority in point of genius and professional acquire 
ments. He had small twinkling eyes, and a pock 
marked face; wore a fur cap, a dark corduroy jacket, 
greasy fustian trowsers, and an apron. His ward 
robe was, in truth, rather out of repair ; but he ex 
cused himself to the company by stating that his 
" time " was only out an hour before ; and that, in 
consequence of having worn the regimentals for six 
weeks past, he had not been able to bestow any at 
tention on his private clothes. Mr. Chitling added, 
with strong marks of irritation, that the new way of 
fumigating clothes up yonder was infernal unconsti 
tutional, for it burned holes in them, and there was 
no remedy against the county. The same remark he 
considered to apply to the regulation mode of cut 
ting the hair, which he held to be decidedly unlaw 
ful. Mr. Chitling wound up his observations by stat 
ing that he had not touched a drop of any thing for 
forty-two mortal long hard-working days ; and that 



he " wished he might be busted if he warn't as dry 
as a lime-basket." 

"Where do you think the gentleman has come 
from, Oliver f" inquired the Jew, with a grin, as the 
other boys put a bottle of spirits on the table. 

" I I don't know, sir," replied Oliver. 

" Who's that ?" inquired Tom Chitliug, casting a 
contemptuous look at Oliver. 

"A young friend of mine, my dear," replied the 
Jew. 

" He's in luck, then," said the young man, with a 
meaning look at Fagin. " Never mind where I came 
from, young 'un ; you'll find your way there soon 
enough, I'll bet a crown !" 

At this sally the boys laughed. After some more 
jokes on the same subject, they exchanged a few 
short whispers with Fagiu, and withdrew. 

After some words apart between the last comer 
and Fagin, they drew their chairs toward the fire ; 
and the Jew, telling Oliver to come and sit by him, 
led the conversation to the topics most calculated to 
interest his hearers. These were, the great advan 
tages of the trade, the proficiency of the Dodger, the 
amiability of Charley Bates, and the liberality of the 
Jew himself. At length these subjects displayed 
signs of being thoroughly exhausted ; and Mr. Chit- 
ling did the same ; for the house of correction be 
comes fatiguing after a week or two. Miss Betsy 
accordingly withdrew ; and left the party to their 
repose. 

From this day, Oliver was seldom left alone ; but 
was placed in almost constant communication with 
the two boys, who played the old game with the 
Jew every day ; whether for their own improvement 
or Oliver's, Mr. Fagin best knew. At other times the 
old man would tell them stories of robberies ho had 
committed in his younger days ; mixed up with so 
much that was droll and curious, that Oliver could 
not help laughing heartily, and showing that he was 
amused, in spite of all his better feelings. 

In short, the wily old Jew had the boy in his toils. 
Having prepared his mind, by solitude and gloom, to 
prefer any society to the companionship of his own 
sad thoughts in such a dreary place, he was now 
slowly instilling into his soul the poison which he 
hoped would blacken it, and change its hue forever. 



CHAPTER XIX. 

IN WHICH A NOTABLE PLAN* IS DISCUSSED AND DETER 
MINED ON. 

IT was a chill, damp, windy night, when the Jew, 
buttoning his great-coat tight rdund his shriveled 
body, and pulling the collar up over his ears so as 
completely to obscnre the lower part of his face, 
emerged from his den. He paused on the step as 
the door was locked and chained behind him ; and 
having listened while the boys made all secure, and 
until their retreating footsteps were no longer audi 
ble, slunk down the street as quickly as he could. 

The house to which Oliver had been conveyed 
was in the neighborhood of Whitechapel. The Jew 
stopped for an instant at the corner of the street; 



62 



OLIVER TWIST. 



and, glancing suspiciously round, crossed the road, 
and strnck off in the direction of Spitalfields. 

The mnd lay thick .upon the stones, and a black 
mist hung over the streets ; the rain fell sluggishly 
down, and every thing felt cold and clammy to the 
touch. It seemed just the night when it befitted 
such a being as the Jew to be abroad. As he glided 
stealthily along, creeping beneath the shelter of the 
walls and door-ways, the hideous old man seemed 
like some loathsome reptile, engendered in the slime 
and darkness through which he moved; crawling 
forth, by night, in search of some rich offal for a 
meal. 

He kept on his course, through many winding and 
narrow ways, until he reached Bethnal Green ; then, 
turning suddenly off to the left, he soon became in 
volved in a maze of the mean and dirty streets Avhich 
abound in that close and densely-populated quarter. 

The Jew was evidently too familiar with the 
ground he traversed to be at all bewildered, either 
by the darkness of the night, or the intricacies of 
the way. He hurried through several alleys and 
streets, and at length turned into one, lighted only 
by a single lamp at the farther end. At the door 
of a house in this street he knocked; having ex 
changed a few muttered words with the person who 
opened it, he walked up stairs. 

A dog growled as he touched the handle of a room- 
door ; and a man's voice demanded who was there. 

" Only me, Bill ; only me, my dear," said the Jew, 
looking in. 

"Bring in your body, then," said Sikes. "Lie 
down, you stupid brute ! Don't you know the devil 
when he's got a great-coat on ?" 

Apparently, the dog had been somewhat deceived 
by Mr. Fagin's outer garment ; for as the Jew unbut 
toned it, and threw it over the back of a chair, he 
retired to the corner from which he had risen ; wag 
ging his tail as he went, to show that he was as well 
satisfied as it was in his nature to be. 

"Well!" said Sikes. 

"Well, my dear," replied the Jew. "Ah! Nancy." 

The latter recognition was uttered with just enough 
of embarrassment to imply a doubt of its reception ; 
for Mr. Fagin and his young friend had not met since 
she had interfered in behalf of Oliver. All doubts 
upon the subject, if he had any, were speedily re 
moved by the young lady's behavior. She took her 
feet off the fender, pushed back her chair, and bade 
Fagin draw up his, without saying more about it : 
for it was a cold night, and no mistake. 

" It is cold, Nancy dear," said the Jew, as he warm 
ed his skinny hands over the fire. " It seems to go 
ri^-ht through one," aided the old man, touching his 
side. 

" It must be a piercer, if it finds its way through 
your heart," said Mr. Sikes. " Give him something 
to drink, Nancy. Burn my body, make haste ! It's 
enough to turn a man ill, to see his lean old carcass 
shivering in that way, like a ugly ghost just rose 
from the grave." 

Nancy quickly brought a bottle from a cupboard, 
in which there were many : which, to judge from the 
diversity of their appearance, were filled with several 
kinds of liquids. Sikes, pouring out a glass of bran 
dy, bade the Jew drink it off. 



" Quite enough, quite, thankye, Bill," replied the 
Jew, putting down the glass after just setting his 
lips to it. 

" What ! You're afraid of our getting the better 
of you, are you f" inquired Sikes, fixing his eyes on 
the Jew. " Ugh !" 

With a hoarse grunt of contempt, Mr. Sikes seized 
the glass, and threw the remainder of its contents 
into the ashes, as a preparatory ceremony to filling 
it again for himself, which he did at once. 

The Jew glanced round the room as his compan 
ion tossed down the second glassful ; not in curiosity, 
for he had seen it often before ; but in a restless and 
suspicious manner habitual to him. It was a meanly 
furnished apartment, with nothing but the contents 
of the closet to induce the belief that its occupier 
was any thing but a working-man; and with no 
more suspicious articles displayed to view than two 
or three heavy bludgeons which stood in a corner, 
and a " life-preserver " that himg over the chimney- 
piece. 

" There," said Sikes, smacking his lips. " Now I'm 
ready." 

" For business ?" inquired the Jew. 

" For business," replied Sikes ; " so say what you've 
got to say." 

"About the crib at Chertsey, Bill?" said the Jew, 
drawing his chair forward, and speaking in a very 
low voice. 

" Yes. Wot about it ?" inquired Sikes. 

"Ah! you know what I mean, my dear," said the 
Jew. " He knows what I mean, Nancy ; don't he ?" 

"No, he don't," sneered Mr. Sikes. " Or he won't, 
and that's the same thing. Speak out, and call things 
by their right names ; don't sit there winking and 
blinking, and talking to me in hints, as if you warn't 
the very first that thought about the robbery. Wot 
d'ye mean?" 

" Hush, Bill, hush !" said the Jew, who had in vain 
attempted to stop this burst of indignation ; " some 
body will hear us, my dear somebody will hear us.' ; 

" Let 'eui hear !" said Sikes ; " I don't care." But 
as Mr. Sikes did care, on reflection, he dropped his 
voice as he said the words, and grew calmer. 

" There, there," said the Jew, coaxingly. " It was 
only my caution, nothing more. Now, my dear, 
about that crib at Chertsey ; when is it to be done, 
Bill, eh ? When is it to be done ? Such plate, my 
dear, such plate !" said the Jew ; nibbing his hands, 
and elevating his eyebrows in a rapture of antici 
pation. 

" Not at all," replied Sikes, coldly. 

" Not to be done at all !" echoed the Jew, leaning 
back in his chair. 

" No, not at all," rejoined Sikes. "At least it can't 
be a put-up job, as we expected." 

" Then it hasn't been properly gone about," said 
the Jew, turning pale with anger. " Don't tell me !" 

"But I will tell you," retorted Sikes. "Who are 
you that's not to be told? I tell yoti that Toby 
Crackit has been hanging about the place for a fort 
night, and he can't get one of the servants into a 
line." 

" Do you mean to tell me, Bill," said the Jew, soft 
ening as the other grew heated, " that neither of the 
two men in the house can be got over ?" 



BUSINESS AFOOT. 



63 



"Yes, I do mean to tell you so/' replied Sikes. 
" The old lady has had 'em these twenty year ; and 
if you were to give 'em five hundred pound, they 
wouldn't be in it." 

" But do you mean to say, my dear," remonstrated 
the Jew, " that the \vomeu can't be got over ?" 

" Not a bit of it," replied Sikes. 

" Not by flash Toby Crackit ?" said the Jew, in 
credulously. " Think what women are, Bill." 

"No; not even by flash Toby Crackit," replied 
Sikes. "He says he's worn sham whiskers, and a 
canary waistcoat, the whole blessed time he's been 
loitering down there, and it's all of no use." 

"He should have tried mustaches and a pair of 
military trowsers, my dear," said the Jew. 

" So he did," rejoined Sikes, " and they waru't of 
no more use than the other plant." 

The Jew looked blank at this information. After 
ruminating for some minutes with his chin sunk on 
his breast, he raised his head and said, with a deep 
sigh, that if flash Toby Crackit reported aright, he 
feared the game was up. 

"And yet," said the old man, dropping his hands 
on his knees, " it's a sad thing, my dear, to lose so 
much when we had set our hearts upon it." 

" So it is," said Mr. Sikes. " Worse luck !" 

A long silence ensued ; during which the Jew was 
plunged in deep thought, with his face wrinkled 
into an expression of villainy perfectly demoniacal. 
Sikes eyed him furtively from time to time. Nancy, 
apparently fearful of irritating the house-breaker, sat 
with her eyes fixed upon the fire, as if she had been 
deaf to all that passed. 

" Fagin," said Sikes, abruptly breaking the still 
ness that prevailed ; " is it worth fifty shiners extra, 
if it's safely done from the outside ?" 

" Yes," said the Jew, as suddenly rousing himself. 

" Is it a bargain ?" inquired Sikes. 

"Yes, my dear, yes," rejoined the Jew; his eyes 
glistening, and every muscle in his face working 
with the excitement that the inquiry had awakened. 

"Then," said Sikes, thrusting aside the Jew's 
hand, with some disdain, " let it come off as soon as 
you like. Toby and me \vere over the garden- wall 
the night afore last, sounding the panels of the door 
and shutters. The crib's barred up at night like a 
jail ; but there's one part we can crack safe and 
softly." 

"Which is that, Bill ?" asked the Jew, eagerly. 

" Why," whispered Sikes, " as you cross the lawn " 

" Yes," said the Jew, bending his head forward, 
with his eyes almost starting out of it. 

" Umph !" cried Sikes, stopping short, as the girl, 
scarcely moving her head, looked suddenly round, 
and pointed for an instant to the Jew's face. " Nev 
er mind which part it is. You can't do it without 
me, I know ; but it's best to be on the safe side when 
one deals with you." 

"As you like, my dear, as yon like," replied the 
Jew. "Is there no help wanted but yours and 
Toby's r 

"None," said Sikes. "'Cept a centre -bit and a 
boy. The first we've both got ; the second you must 
find us." 

"A boy!" exclaimed the Jew. "Oh! then it's a 
panel, eh ?" 



" Never mind wot it is !" replied Sikes. " I want 
a boy, and he musu't be a big un. Lord !" said Mr. 
Sikes, reflectively, " if I'd only got that young boy 
of Ned, the chimbley-sweeper's ! He kept" him small 
on purpose, and let him out by the job. But the fa 
ther gets lagged ; and then the Juvenile Delinquent 
Society comes and takes the boy away from a trade 
where he was arniug money, teaches him to read and 
write, and in time makes a 'prentice of him. And so 
they go on," said Mr. Sikes, his wrath rising with the 
recollection of his wrongs, " so they go on ; and, if 
they'd got money enough (which it's a Providence 
they haven't), wo shouldn't have half a dozen boys 
left in the whole trade, in a year or two." 

"No more we should," acquiesced the Jew, who 
had been considering during this speech, and had 
only caiight the last sentence. "Bill!" 

"What now ?" inquired Sikes. 

The Jew nodded his head toward Nancy, who was 
still gazing at the lire ; and intimated by a sign that 
he would have told her to leave the room. Sikes 
shrugged his shoulders impatiently, as if he thought 
the precaution unnecessary ; but complied, neverthe 
less, by requesting Miss Nancy to fetch him a jug of 
beer. 

" You don't want any beer," said Nancy, folding 
her arms, and retaining her seat very composedly. 

" I tell you I do," replied Sikes. 

" Nonsense !" rejoined the girl, coolly. " Go on, Fa- 
gin. I know what he's going to say, Bill ; he needn't 
mind me." 

The Jew still hesitated. Sikes looked from one to 
the other in some surprise. 

"Why, you don't mind the old girl, do you, Fa- 
gin '?" he asked at length. " You've known her long 
enough to trust her, or the Devil's in it. She ain't 
one to blab. Are you, Nancy ?" 

"/should think not!'' replied the young lady: 
drawing her chair up to the table, and putting her 
elbows upon it. 

" No, no, my dear, I know you're not," said the 
Jew ; " but " and again the old man paused. 

" But wot ?" inquired Sikes. 

" I didn't know whether she mightn't pYaps be 
out of sorts, you know, my dear, as she was the other 
night," replied the Jew. 

At this confession Miss Nancy burst into a loud 
laugh ; and, swallowing a glass of brandy, shook her 
head with an air of defiance, and burst into sundry 
exclamations of " Keep the game a-going !" " Never 
say die !" and the like. These seemed to have the 
effect of reassuring both gentlemen ; for the Jew 
nodded his head with a satisfied air, and resumed his 
seat : as did Mr. Sikes likewise. 

" Now, Fagin," said Nancy, with a laugh, " tell Bill 
at once about Oliver !" 

" Ha ! you're a clever one, my dear ; the sharpest 
girl I ever saw !" said the Jew, patting her on the 
neck. " It was about Oliver I was going to speak, 
sure enough. Ha! ha! ha!" 

"What about him?" demanded Sikes- 

"He's the boy for you, my dear," replied the Jew, 
in a hoarse whisper, laying his finger on the side of 
his nose, and grinning frightfully. 

" He !" exclaimed Sikes. 

" Have him, Bill !" said Nancy. " I would, if I was 



64 



OLIVER TWIST. 



in your place. He mayn't be so much up as any of 
the others ; but that's not what you want, if he's only 
to open a door for you. Depend upon it he's a safe 
one, Bill." 

"I know he is," rejoined Fagin. "He's been in 
good training these last few weeks, and it's time he 
began to Avork for his bread. Besides, the others are 
all too big." 

" Well, he is just the size I want," said Mr. Sikes, 
ruminating. 

"And will do every thing you want, Bill, my dear," 
interposed the Jew ; " he can't help himself. That 
is, if you frighten him enough." 

" Frighten him !" echoed Sikes. " It'll be no sham 



" Ours !" said Sikes. " Yours, you mean." 

" Perhaps I do, my dear," said the Jew with a shrill 
chuckle. " Mine, if you like, Bill." 

"And wot," said Sikes, scowling fiercely on his 
agreeable friend, "wot makes you take so much 
pains about one chalk -faced kid, when you know 
there are fifty boys snoozing about Common Garden 
every night, as you might pick and choose from ?" 

" Because they're of no use to me, my dear," re 
plied the Jew, with some confusion, " not worth the 
taking. Their looks convict 'em when they get into 
trouble, and I lose 'em all. With this boy, properly 
managed, my dears, I could do what I couldn't with 
twenty of them. Besides," said the Jew, recovering 




'lIIE BOY WAS LYING, FAST ASLEEP, ON A RUDE BED UPON TUB FLOOR. 



frightening, mind you. If there's any thing queer 
about him when we once get into the work ; in for 
a penny, in for a pound. You won't see him alive 
again, Fagin. Think of that before you send him. 
Mark my words !" said the robber, poising a crow 
bar, which he had drawn from under the bedstead. 

" I've thought of it all," said the Jew, with energy. 
" I've I've had my eye upon him, my dears, close 
close. Once- let him feel that he is one of us once 
fill his mind with the idea that he has been a thief 
and he's ours ! Ours for his life. Oho ! It couldn't 
have come about better !" The old man crossed his 
arms upon his breast, and, drawing his head and shoul 
ders into a heap, literally hugged himself for joy. 



his self-possession, " he has us now if he could only 
give us leg-bail again ; and he must be in the same 
boat with us. Never mind how he came there ; it's 
quite enough for my power over him that he was in 
a robbery ; that's all I want. Now, how much bet 
ter this is than being obliged to put the poor leetle 
boy out of the way which would be dangerous, and 
we should lose by it besides." 

" When is it to be done ?" asked Nancy, stopping 
some turbulent exclamation on the part of Mr. Sikes, 
expressive of the disgust with which he received Fa- 
gin's affectation of humanity. 

"Ah, to be sure," said the Jew; "when is it to be 
done, Bill T" 



THE VERT EOT FOR THE PURPOSE. 



65 



" I planned with Toby, the night arter to-morrow," 
rejoined Sikes in a surly voice, " if he heerd nothing 
from me to the contrairy." 

" Good," said the Jew ; " there's no moon." 

"No," rejoined Sikes. 

" It's all arranged about bringing off the swag, is 
it ?" asked the Jew. 

Sikes nodded. 

"And about" 

" Oh, ah, it's all planned," rejoined Sikes, inter 
rupting him. " Never mind particulars. You'd bet 
ter bring the boy here to-morrow night. I shall get 
off the stones an hour arter daybreak. Then you 
hold your tongue, and keep the melting-pot ready, 
and that's all you'll have to do." 

After some discussion, in which all three took an 
active part, it was decided that Nancy should repair 
to the Jew's next evening when the night had set 
in, and bring Oliver away with her; Fagin craftily 
observing that, if he evinced any disinclination to 
the task, he would be more willing to accompany 
the girl who had so recently interfered in his behalf, 
than any body else. It was also solemnly arranged 
that poor Oliver should, for the purposes of the con 
templated expedition, be unreservedly consigned to 
the care and custody of Mr. William Sikes ; and fur 
ther, that the said Sikes should deal with him as he 
thought fit ; and should not be held responsible by 
the Jew for any mischance or evil that might befall 
him, or any punishment w r ith which it might be nec 
essary to visit him : it being understood that, to ren 
der the compact in this respect binding, any repre 
sentations made by Mr. Sikes on his return should 
be required to be confirmed and corroborated, in all 
important particulars, by the testimony of flash Toby 
Crackit. 

These preliminaries adjusted, Mr. Sikes proceeded 
to drink brandy at a furious rate, and to flourish the 
crowbar in an alarming manner ; yelling forth, at 
the same time, most unmusical snatches of song, min 
gled with wild execrations. At length, in a fit of 
professional enthusiasm, he insisted upon producing 
his box of house-breaking tools : which he had no 
sooner stumbled in with, and opened for the purpose 
of explaining the nature and properties of the vari 
ous implements it contained, and the peculiar beau 
ties of their construction, than he fell over the box 
upon the floor, and went to sleep where he fell. 

" Good-night, Nancy," said the Jew, muffling him 
self up as before. 

" Good-night." 

Their eyes met, and the Jew scrutinized her nar 
rowly. There was no flinching about the girl. She 
was as true and earnest in the matter as Toby Crack- 
it himself could be. 

The Jew again bade her good-night, and, bestow 
ing a sly kick upon the prostrate form of Mr. Sikes 
while her back was turned, groped down stairs. 

"Always the way," muttered the Jew to himself 
as he turned homeward. " The worst of these wom 
en is, that a very little thing serves to call up some 
long-forgotten feeling ; and the best of them is, that 
it nev-r lasts. Ha! ha! The man against the child, 
for a bag of gold !" 

Beguiling the time with these pleasant reflections, 
Mr. Fagin wended his way, through mud and mire, 
E 



to his gloomy abode : where the Dodger was sitting 
up, impatiently awaiting his return. 

" Is Oliver abed ? I want to speak to him," was 
his first remark as they descended the stairs. 

" Hours ago," replied the Dodger, throwing open a 
door. " Here he is." 

The boy was lying, fast asleep, on a rude bed upon 
the floor ; so pale with anxiety, and sadness, and the 
closeness of his prison, that he looked like death ; 
not death as it shows iu shroud and coffin, but in the 
guise it wears when life has just departed ; when a 
young and gentle spirit has, but an instant, fled to 
Heaven, and the gross air of the world has not had 
time to breathe upon the changing dust it hallowed. 

"Not now," said the Jew, turning softly away. 
" To-morrow. To-morrow." 



CHAPTER XX. 

WHEREIN OLIVER IS DELIVERED OVER TO MR. WILLIAM 
SIKES. 

WHEN Oliver awoke in the morning, he was a 
good deal surprised to find that a new pair of 
shoes, with strong thick soles, had been placed at his 
bedside, and that his old shoes had been removed. 
At first he was pleased with the discovery, hoping 
it might be the forerunner of his release ; but such 
thoughts were quickly dispelled, on his sitting down 
to breakfast along with the Jew, who told him, in a 
tone and manner which increased his alarm, that he 
was to be taken to the residence of Bill Sikes that 
night. 

"To to stop there, sir?" asked Oliver, anxiously. 

" No, no, my dear. Not to stop there," replied the 
Jew. "We shouldn't like to lose you. Don't be 
afraid, Oliver, you shall come back to us again. Ha ! 
ha ! ha ! We won't be so cruel as to send you away, 
my dear. Oh no, no !" 

The old man, who was stooping over the fire toast 
ing a piece of bread, looked round as he bantered 
Oliver thus; and chuckled as if to show that he 
knew he would still be very glad to get away if he 
could. 

" I suppose," said the Jew, fixing his eyes on Oli 
ver, " you want to know what you're going to Bill's 
for eh, my dear ?" 

Oliver colored, involuntarily, to find that the old 
thief had been reading his thoughts; but boldly 
said, Yes, he did want to know. 

" Why, do you think ?'? inquired Fagin, parrying 
the question. 

" Indeed I don't know, sir," replied Oliver. 

" Bah !" said the Jew, turning away v.-ith a disap 
pointed countenance from a close perusal of the boy's 
face. " Wait till Bill tells you, then." 

The Jew seemed much vexed by Oliver's not ex 
pressing any greater curiosity on the subject ; but 
the truth is, that although Oliver felt very anxious, 
he was too much confused by the earnest cunning 
of Fagin's looks, and his own speculations, to make 
any further inquiries just then. He had no other 
opportunity, for the Jew remained very surly aud .si 
lent till night ; when he prepared to go abroad. 

" You may bum a candle," said the Jew, putting 



66 



OLIVES TWIST. 



one upon the table. "And here's a book for you to 
read, till they come to fetch you. Good-night !" 

" Good-night !" replied Oliver, softly. 

The Jew walked to the door, looking over his 
shoulder at the boy as he went. Suddenly stopping, 
he called him by his name. 

Oliver looked up ; the Jew, pointing to the candle, 
motioned him to light it. He did so ; and, as he 
placed the candlestick upon the table, saw that the 
Jew was gazing fixedly at him, with lowering and 
contracted brows, from, the dark end of the room. 

"Take heed, Oliver! take heed!" said the old man, 
shaking his right hand before him in a warning 
manner. "He's a rough man, and thinks nothing 
of blood when his own is up. Whatever falls out, 
say nothing; and do what he bids you. Mind!'' 
Placing a strong emphasis on the last word, he suf 
fered his features gradually to resolve themselves 
into a ghastly grin, and, nodding his head, left the 
room. 

Oliver leaned his head upon his hand when the 
old man disappeared, and pondered, with a trembling 
heart, on the words he had just heard. The more 
he thought of the Jew's admonition, the more he was 
at a loss to divine its real purpose and meaning. He 
could think of no bad object to be attained by send 
ing him to Sikes which would not be equally well 
answered by his remaining with Fagin ; and after 
meditating for a long time, concluded that he had 
been selected to perform some ordinary menial of 
fices for the house-breaker, until another boy, better 
suited for his purpose, could be engaged. He was 
too well accustomed to suffering, and had suffered 
too much where he was, to bewail the prospect of 
change very severely. He remained lost in thought 
for some minutes ; and then, with a heavy sigh, snuff 
ed the candle, and, taking up the book which the Jew 
had left with him, began to read. 

He turned over the leaves. Carelessly at first; 
but lighting on a passage which attracted his atten 
tion, he soon became intent upon the volume. It 
was a history of the lives and trials of great crimi 
nals, and the pages were soiled and thumbed with 
use. Here he read of dreadful crimes that made the 
blood run cold; of secret murders that had been 
committed by the lonely wayside ; of bodies hidden 
from the eye of man in deep pits and wells, which 
would not keep them down, deep as they were, but 
had yielded them up at last after many years, and 
so maddened the murderers with the sight, that in 
their horror they had confessed their guilt, and yell 
ed for the gibbet to end their agony. Here, too, he 
read of men Avho, lying in their beds at dead of night, 
had been tempted (so they said) and led on, by their 
own bad thoughts, to such dreadful bloodshed as it 
made the flesh creep and the limbs quail to think 
of. The terrible descriptions were so real and vivid, 
that the sallow pages seemed to turn red with gore, 
and the words upon them to be sounded in his ears 
as if they were whispered, in hollow murmurs, by the 
spirits of the dead. 

In a paroxysm of fear, the boy closed the book 
and thrust it from him. Then, falling upon his 
knees, he prayed Heaven to spare him from such 
deeds ; and rather to will that he should die at once, 
than be reserved for crimes so fearful and appalling. 



By degrees he grew more calm, and besought, in a 
low and broken voice, that he might be rescued from 
his present dangers ; and that if any aid were to be 
raised up for a poor outcast boy who had never 
known the love of friends or kindred, it might come 
to him now, when, desolate and deserted, he stood 
alone in the midst of wickedness and guilt. 

He had concluded his prayer, but still remained 
with his head buried in his hands, when a rustling 
noise aroused him. 

" What's that !" he cried, starting up, and catch 
ing sight of a figure standing by the door. " Who's 
there ?" 

" Me. Only me," replied a tremulous voice. 

Oliver raised the candle above his head, and look 
ed toward the door. It was Nancy. 

" Put down the light," said the girl, turning away 
her head. " It hurts my eyes." 

Oliver saw that she was very pale, and gently in 
quired if she were ill. The girl threw herself into 
a chair with her back toward him, and wrung her 
hands, but made no reply. 

"God forgive me!" she cried, after a while, "I 
never thought of this." 

" Has any thing happened ?" asked Oliver. " Can 
I help you ? I will if I can. I will, indeed." 

She rocked herself to and fro, caught her throat, 
and, uttering a gurgling sound, gasped for breath. 

" Nancy !" cried Oliver, " what is it ?" 

The girl beat her hands upon her knees, and her 
feet upon the ground; and, suddenly stopping, drew 
her shawl close round her, and shivered with cold. 

Oliver stirred the fire. Drawing her chair close 
to it, she sat there for a little time, without speak 
ing ; but at length she raised her head, and looked 
round. 

"I don't know what comes over me sometimes," 
said she, affecting to busy herself in arranging her 
dress ; " it's this damp, dirty room, I think. Now, 
Nolly, dear, are you ready ?" 

"Am I to go with you?" asked Oliver. 

"Yes, I have come from Bill," replied the girl. 
" You are to go with me." 

" What for ?" asked Oliver, recoiling. 

"What for f" echoed the girl, raking her eyes, and 
averting them again the moment they encountered 
the boy's face. " Oh ! - For no harm." 

" I don't believe it," said Oliver, who had watched 
her closely. 

" Have it your own way," rejoined the girl, affect 
ing to laugh. " For no good, then." 

Oliver could see that he had some power over the 
girl's better feelings, and, for an instant, thought of 
appealing to her compassion for his helpless state. 
But then the thought darted across his mind that it 
was barely eleven o'clock, and that many people 
were still in the streets, of whom surely some might 
be found to give credence to his tale. As the reflec 
tion occurred to him, he stepped forward, and said, 
somewhat hastily, that lie was ready. 

Neither his brief consideration nor its purport was 
lost on his companion. She eyed him narrowly 
while he spoke, and cast upon him a look of intelli 
gence which sufficiently showed that she guessed 
what had been passing in his thoughts. 

"Hush!" said the girl, stooping over him, and 



MB. SIKES READS OLIVER A LECTURE. 



67 



pointing to the door as she looked cautiously round. 
" You can't help yourself. I have tried hard for 
you, but all to 110 purpose. You are hedged round 
and round. If ever you are to get loose from here, 
this is not the time." 

Struck by the energy of her manner, Oliver looked 
up in her face with great surprise. She seemed to 
speak the truth ; her countenance was white and ag 
itated, and she trembled with very earnestness. 

" I have saved you from being ill-used once, and I 
will again, and I do now," continued the girl, aloud; 
" for those who would have fetched you, if I had not, 
would have been far more rough than me. I have 
promised for your being quiet and silent ; if you are 
not, you will only do harm to yourself and me too, 
and perhaps be my death. See here ! I have borne all 
this for you already, as true as God sees me show it." 

She pointed hastily to some livid bruises on her 
neck and arms, and continued, with great rapidity : 

" Remember this ! And don't let me suffer more 
for you. just now. If I could help you, I would ; but 
I have not the power. They don't mean to harm 
you ; whatever they make you do is no fault of 
yours. Hush ! Every word from you is a blow for 
me. Give me your hand. Make haste! Your 
hand!" 

She caught the hand which Oliver instinctively 
placed in hers, and, blowing out the light, drew him 
after her up the stairs. The door was opened quick 
ly by some one shrouded in the darkness, and was as 
quickly closed when they had passed out. A hack 
ney-cabriolet was in waiting; with the same vehe 
mence which she had exhibited in addressing Oli 
ver, the girl pulled him in with her, and drew the cur 
tains close. The driver wanted no directions, but 
lashed his horse into full speed without the delay of 
an instant. 

The girl still held Oliver fast by the hand, and 
continued to pour into his ear the warnings and as 
surances she had already imparted. All was so 
quick and hurried, that he had scarcely time to rec 
ollect where he was, or how he came there, when the 
carriage stopped at the house to which the Jew's 
steps had been directed on the previous evening. 

For one brief moment, Oliver cast a hurried glance 
along the empty street, and a cry for help hung upon 
his lips. But the girl's voice was in his ear, beseech 
ing him, in such tones of agony to remember her, 
that he had not the heart to utter it. While he hes 
itated the opportunity was gone ; he was already in 
the house, and the door was shut. 

" This way," said the girl, releasing her hold for 
the first time. "Bill!" 

" Halloo !" replied Sikes, appearing at the head of 
the stairs, with a candle. " Oh ! That's the time of 
day ! Come on !" 

This was a very strong expression of approbation, 
an uncommonly hearty welcome, from a person of 
Mr. Sikes's temperament. Nancy, appearing much 
gratified thereby, saluted him cordially. 

"Bull's-eye's gone home with Tom," observed 
Sikes, as he lighted them up. " He'd have been in 
the w.'iy." 

" That's right," rejoined Nancy. 

" So you've got the kid," said Sikes, when they had 
all reached the room, closing the door as he spoke. 



" Yes, here he is," replied Nancy. 

" Did he come quiet ?" inquired Sikes. 

" Like a lamb," rejoined Nancy. 

" I'm glad to hear it," said Sikes, looking grimly at 
Oliver ; " for the sake of his young carcass : as would 
otherways have suffered for it. Come here, young 
'un ; and let me read you a lectur', which is as well 
got over at once." 

Thus addressing his new pupil, Mr. Sikes pulled 
off Oliver's cap and threw it into a corner ; and then, 
taking him by the shoulder, sat himself down by the 
table, and stood the boy in front of him. 

" Now, first : do you know wot this is ?" inquired 
Sikes, taking up a pocket-pistol which lay on the 
table. 

Oliver replied in the affirmative. 

"Well, then, look here," continued Sikes. "This 
is powder; that 'ere's a bullet; and this is a little 
bit of a old hat for waddin'." 

Oliver murmured his comprehension of the differ 
ent bodies referred to ; and Mr. Sikes proceeded to 
load the pistol, with great nicety and deliberation. 

" Now it's loaded," said Mr. Sikes, when he had 
finished. 

" Yes, I see it is, sir," replied Oh' ver. 

"Well," said the robber, grasping Oliver's wrist, 
and putting the barrel so close to his temple that 
they touched ; at which moment the boy could not 
repress a start ; " if you speak a word when you're 
out o' doors with me, except when I speak to you, 
that loading will be in your head without notice. 
So, if you do make up your mind to speak without 
leave, say your prayers first." 

Having bestowed a scowl upon the object of this 
warning, to increase its effect, Mr. Sikes continued. 

"As near as I know, there isn't any body as would 
be asking very partickler arter you, if you was dis 
posed of; so I needn't take this devil-and-all of 
trouble to explain matters to you, if it warn't for 
your own good. D'ye hear me ?" 

" The short and the long of what you mean," said 
Nancy speaking very emphatically, and slightly 
frowning at Oliver^ as if to bespeak his serious atten 
tion to her words " is, that if you're crossed by him 
in this job you have on hand, you'll prevent his ever 
telling tales afterward by shooting him through the 
head, and will take your chance of swinging for it,, 
as you do for a great many other things in the way 
of business, every month of your life." 

" That's it !" observed Mr. Sikes, approvingly ; 
"women can always put things in fewest words. 
Except when it's blowing up, and then they length 
ens it out. And now that he's thoroughly up to it, 
let's have some supper, and get a snooze before start 
ing." 

In pursuance of this request, Nancy quickly laid 
the cloth ; disappearing for a few minutes, she pres 
ently returned with a pot of porter and a dish of 
sheep's heads ; which gave occasion to several pleas 
ant witticisms on the part of Mr. Sikes, founded upon 
the singular coincidence of "jemmies " being a cant 
name common to them, and also to an ingenious im 
plement much used in his profession. Indeed, the 
worthy gentleman, stimulated perhaps by the imme 
diate prospect of being on active service, was in great 
spirits an<r good-humor ; in proof whereof, it may be 



(58 



OLIVER TWIST. 



here remarked, that he humorously drank all the 
beer at a draught, and did not utter, on a rough 
calculation, more than four-score oaths during the 
whole progress of the meal. 

Supper being ended it may easily be conceived 
that Oliver had no great appetite for it Mr. Sikes 
disposed of a couple of glasses of spirits-and-water, 
and threw himself on' the bed ; ordering Nancy, with 
many imprecations in case of failure, to call him 
at five precisely. Oliver stretched himself in his 
clothes, by command of the same authority, on a 
mattress upon the floor ; and the girl, mending the 
fire, sat before it, in readiness to arouse them at the 
appointed time. 

For a long time Oliver lay awake, thinking it not 
impossible that Nancy might seek that opportunity 
of whispering some further advice ; but the girl sat 
brooding over the fire, without moving, save now 
and then to trim the light. Weary with watching 
and anxiety, he at length fell asleep. 

When he awoke, the table was covered with tea- 
things, and Sikes was thrusting various articles into 
the pockets of his great-coat, which hung over the 
back of a chair. Nancy was busily engaged in pre 
paring breakfast. It was not yet daylight ; for the 
candle was still burning, and it was quite dark out 
side. A sharp rain, too, was beating against the win 
dow-panes ; and the sky looked black and cloudy. 

" Now, then !" growled Sikes, as Oliver started up ; 
" half-past five ! Look sharp, or you'll get no break 
fast ; for it's late as it is." 

Oliver was not long in making his toilet ; having 
taken some breakfast, he replied to a surly inquiry 
from Sikes, by saying that he was quite ready. 

Nancy scarcely looking at the boy, threw him a 
handkerchief to tie round his throat ; Sikes gave 
him a large rough cape to button over his shoulders. 
Thus attired, he gave his hand to the robber, who, 
merely pausing to show him with a menacing ges 
ture that he had that same pistol in a side-pocket of 
his great-coat, clasped it firmly in his, and, exchang 
ing a farewell with Nancy, led him away. 

Oliver turned, for an instant, ^fhen they reached 
the door, in the hope of meeting a look from the girl. 
But she had resumed her old seat in front of the fire, 
and sat perfectly motionless before it. 



CHAPTEE XXI. 

THE EXPEDITION. 

IT was a cheerless morning when they got into the 
street ; blowing and raining hard, and the clouds 
looking dull and stormy. The night had been very 
wet: large pools of water had collected in the road, 
and the kennels 'were overflowing. There was a 
faint glimmering of the coming day in the sky ; but 
it rather aggravated than relieved the gloom of the 
scene : the sombre light only serving to pale that 
which the street lamps afforded, without shedding 
any warmer or brighter tints upon the wet house-tops 
and dreary streets. There appeared to be nobody 
stirring in that quarter of the town ; the windows 
of the houses were all closely shut ; and ^hc streets 
through v.'hich they passed were noiseless and empty. 



By the time they had turned into the Bethnal 
Green Road, the day had fairly begun to break. 
Many of the lamps were already extinguished ; a 
few country wagons were slowly toiling on toward 
London ; now and then a stage-coach, covered with 
mud, rattled briskly by : the driver bestowing, as he 
passed, an admonitory lash upon the heavy wagoner 
who, by keeping on the wrong side of the road, had 
endangered his arriving at the office a quarter of a 
minute after his time. The public-houses, with gas 
lights burning inside, were already open. By de 
grees, other shops began to be unclosed, and a few 
scattered people were met with. Then came strag 
gling groups of laborers going to their work : then, 
men and women with fish-baskets on their heads; 
donkey-carts laden with vegetables ; chaise-carts till 
ed with live-stock or whole carcasses of meat ; inilk- 
woiiien with pails ; an unbroken concourse of people, 
trudging out with various supplies to the eastern 
suburbs of the town. As they approached the City, 
the noise and traffic gradually increased ; when they 
threaded the streets between Shoreditch and Smith- 
field, it had swelled into a roar of sound and bustle. 
It was as light as it was likely to be till night came 
on again, and the busy morning of half the London 
population had begun. 

Turning down Sun Street and Crown Street, and 
crossing Finsbury Square, Mr. Sikes struck, by way 
of Chiswell Street, into Barbican ; thence into Long 
Lane, and so into Smithfield; from which latter 
place arose a tumult of discordant sounds that filled 
Oliver Twist with amazement. 

It was market-morning. The ground was cover 
ed, nearly ankle-deep, with filth and mire ; a thick 
steam, perpetually rising from the reeking bodies of 
the cattle, and mingling with the fog, which seemed 
to rest upon the chimney-tops, hung heavily above. 
All the pens in the centre of the large area, and as 
many temporary pens as could be crowded into the 
vacant space, were filled with sheep ; tied up to posts 
by the gutter side were long lines of beasts and oxen, 
three or four deep. Countrymen, butchers, drovers, 
hawkers, boys, thieves, idlers, and vagabonds of every 
low grade, were mingled together in a mass ; the 
whistling of drovers, the barking of dogs, the bel 
lowing and plunging of oxen, the bleating of sheep, 
the grunting and squeaking of pigs, the cries of 
hawkers, the shouts, oaths, and quarreling on all 
sides ; the ringing of bells and roar of voices, that 
issued from every public-house ; the crowding, push 
ing, driving, beating, whooping, and yelling ; the hid 
eous and discordant din that resounded from every 
corner of the market ; and the unwashed, unshaven, 
squalid, and dirty figures constantly running to and 
fro, and bursting in and out of the throng, rendered 
it a stunning and bewildering scene, which quite 
confounded the senses. 

Mr. Sikes, dragging Oliver after him, elbowed his 
way through the thickest of the crowd, and bestow 
ed very little attention on the numerous sights and 
sounds which so astonished the boy. He nodded, 
twice or thrice, to a passing friend ; and, resisting as 
many invitations to take a morning dram, pressed 
steadily onward, \\n\i\ they were clear of the, turmoil, 
i and had made their way through Hosier Lane into 
Holburn. 



ON THE ROAD OUT OF TOJTX. 



" Now, young un !" said Sikes, looking up at the 
clock of St. Andrew's Church,. "hard upon seven! 
you must step out. Come, don't lag behind already, 
Lazy-legs !'' 

Mr. Sikes accompanied this speech with a jerk at 
his little companion's wrist. Oliver, quickening his 
pace into a kind of trot, between a fast walk and a 
run, kept up with the rapid strides of the house 
breaker as well as he could. 

They held their course at this rate, until they had 
passed Hyde Park corner, and were on their way to 
Kensington ; when Sikes relaxed his pace, until an 
empty cart, which was at some little distance behind, 
came up. Seeing " Hounslow " written on it, he ask 
ed the driver with as much civility as he could as 
sume, if he would give them a lift as far as Isleworth. 

" Jump up," said the man. " Is that your boy V' 

" Yes ; he's my boy," replied Sikes, loohing hard at 
Oliver, and putting his hand abstractedly into the 
pocket where the pistol was. 

" Your father walks rather too quick for you, don't 
he, my man F inquired the driver ; seeing that Oliver 
was out of breath. 

" Not a bit of it," replied Sikes, interposing. " He's 
used to it. Here, take hold of my hand, Ned. In with 
you!" 

Thus -addressing Oliver, he helped him into the 
cart ; and the driver, pointing to a heap of sacks, 
told him to lie down there and rest himself. 

As they passed the different mile-stones, Oliver won 
dered, more and more, where his companion meant 
to take him. Kensington, Hammersmith, Chiswick, 
Kew Bridge, Brentford, were all passed ; and yet they 
went on as steadily as if they had only just begun 
their journey. At length they came to a public- 
house called the Coach and Horses ; a little way be 
yond which, another road appeared to turn off. And 
here the cart stopped. 

Sikes dismounted with great precipitation, holding 
Oliver by the hand all the while ; and, lifting him 
down directly, bestowed a furious look upon him, 
and rapped the side-pocket with his list in a signifi 
cant manner. 

" Good-bye, boy," said the man. 

" He's sulky," replied Sikes, giving him a shake ; 
" he's sulky. A young dog ! Don't mind him." 

" Not I !" rejoined the other, getting into his cart. 
" It's a fine day, after all." And he drove away. 

Sikes waited until he had fairly gone ; and then 
telling Oliver he might look about him if he wanted, 
once again led him onward on his journey. 

They turned rouud to the left, a short way past 
the public - house ; and then, taking a right-hand 
road, walked on for a long time ; passing many large 
gardens and gentlemen's houses on both sides of the 
way, and stopping for nothing but a little beer until 
they reached a town. Here, against the wall of a 
house, Oliver saw written up in pretty large letters, 
" Hampton." They lingered about in the fields for 
some hours. At length they came back into the 
town ; and, turning into an old public-house with a 
defaced sign-board, ordered some dinner by the kitch 
en fire. 

The. kitchen was an old, low -roofed room; with 
;> great beam across the middle of the ceiling, and 
benches, with high backs to them, by the fire ; on 



which were seated several rough men in smock-frocks, 
drinking and smoking. They took no notice of Oli 
ver, and very little of Sikes ; and, as Sikes took -very 
little notice of them, he and his young comrade sat 
in a corner by themselves, without being much trou 
bled by their company. 

They had some cold meat for dinner, and sat so 
long after it, while Mr. Sikes indulged himself Avith 
three or four pipes, that Oliver began to feel quite 
certain they were not going any farther. Being 
much tired with the walk, and getting up so early, 
he dozed a little at first ; then, quite overpowered by 
fatigue and the fumes of the tobacco, fell asleep. 

It was quite dark when he was awakened by a 
push from Sikes. Rousing himself sufficiently to sit 
up and look about him, he found that worthy in close 
fellowship and communication with a laboring-man, 
over a pint of ale. 

" So you're going on to Lower Halliford, are you ?" 
inquired Sikes. 

" Yes, I am," replied the man, who seemed a little 
the worse or better, as the case might be for drink 
ing ; " and not slow about it, neither. My horse hasn't 
got a load behind him going back, as he had coming 
up in the mornin' ; and he won't be long a-doiug of 
it. Here's luck to him I Ecod ! he's a good un !" 

" Could you give my boy and me a lift as far as 
there ?" demanded Sikes, pushing the ale toward his 
new friend. 

" If you're going directly, I can," replied the man, 
looking out of the pot. "Are you going to Halli 
ford?" 

" Going on to Shepperton," replied Sikes. 

" I'm your man, as far as I go," replied the other. 
" Is all paid, Becky f ' 

" Yes, the other gentleman's paid," replied the girl. 

" I say !" said the man, with tipsy gravity ; " that 
won't do, you know." 

" Why not ?" rejoined Sikes. " You're a-going to 
accommodate us, and. wot's to prevent my standing 
treat for a pint or so, in return ?" 

The stranger reflected upon this argument with a 
very profound face ; having done so, he seized Sikes 
by the hand, and declared ho was a real good fellow. 
To which Mr. Sikes replied, ho was joking ; as, if he 
had been sober, there would have been strong reason 
to suppose he was. 

After the exchange of a few more compliments, 
they bade the company good-night, and went out ; 
the girl gathering up the pots and glasses as they 
did so, and lounging out to the door, with her hands 
full, to see the party start. 

The horse, whose health had been drunk in his ab 
sence, was standing outside, ready harnessed to the 
cart. Oliver and Sikes got in without any further 
ceremony ; and the man to whom he belonged, hav 
ing lingered for a minute or tw r o "to bear him up," 
and to defy the hostler and the world, to produce his 
equal, mounted also. Then the hostler was told to 
give the horse his head; and, his head being given 
him, he made a very unpleasant use of it tossing it 
into the air with great disdain, and running into the 
parlor windows over the way : after performing those 
feats, and supporting himself for a short time on his 
hind-legs, he started off at great speed, and rattled 
out of the town right gallantly. 



70 



OLIVER TWIST. 



The night Avas very dark. A damp mist rose from 
the river and the marshy ground about, and spread 
itself over the dreary fields. It was piercing cold, 
too; all was gloomy and black. Not a word was 
spoken ; for the driver had grown sleepy, and Sikes 
was in no mood to lead him into conversation. Oli 
ver sat huddled together in a corner of the cart, be 
wildered with alarm and apprehension ; and figuring 
strange objects in the gaunt trees, whose branches 
waved grimly to and fro, as if in some fantastic joy 
at the desolation of the scene. 

As they passed Suubury Church, the clock struck 
seven. There was a light in the ferry -house win 
dow opposite, which streamed across the road, and 
threw into more sombre shadow a dark yew-tree 
with graves beneath it. There was a dull sound of 



the bridge, then turned suddenly down a bank upon 
the left. 

" The water !" thought Oliver, turning sick with 
fear. "He has brought me to this lonely place to 
murder me !" 

He was about to throw himself on the ground, and 
make one struggle for his young life, when he saw 
that they stood before a solitary house, all ruinous 
and decayed. There was a window on each side of 
the dilapidated entrance, and one story above, but 
no light was visible. The house was dark, disman 
tled ; and, to all appearance, uninhabited. 

Sikes, with Oliver's hand still in his, softly ap 
proached the low porch and raised the latch. The 
door yielded to the pressure, and they passed in to 
gether. 




' 8IKE8, WITH OLIVER'S HAND STILL IN HIS, SOFTLY Al'l'JROAOUEl) T11E LOW POKOU." 



falling water not far off; and the leaves of the old 
tree stirred gently in the night wind. It seemed like 
quiet music for the repose of the dead. 

Sunbury was passed through, and they came again 
into the lonely road. Two or three miles more, and 
the cart stopped. Sikes alighted, took Oliver by the 
hand, and they once again walked on. 

They turned into no house at Shepperton, as the 
weary boy had expected ; but still kept walking on, 
in mud and darkness, through gloomy lanes and over 
cold open wastes, until they came within sight of the 
lights of a town at no great distance. On looking 
intently forward, Oliver saw that the water was just 
below them, and that they were coming to the foot 
of a bridge. 

Sikes kept straight on until they were close upon 



CHAPTER XXII. 

THE BURGLARY. 

" TTALLOO !" cried a loud, hoarse voice, as soon as 
Xl_ they set foot in the passage. 

" Don't make such a row," said Sikes, bolting the 
door. " Show a glim, Toby." 

"Aha! rny pal!" cried the same voice. "A glim, 
Barney, a glim ! Show the gentleman in, Barney ; 
wake up, first, if convenient." 

The speaker appeared to throw a boot -jack, or 
some such article, at the person he addressed, to rouse 
him from his slumbers ; for the noise of a wooden 
body, falling violently, was heard ; and then an in 
distinct muttering, as of a man between asleep and 
awake. 



ME. TOBY CRACKIT. 



71 



" Do you hear ?" cried the same voice. " There's 
Bill Sikes iu the passage, with nobody to do the civil 
to him ; and you sleeping there, as if you took lau 
danum -with your meals, and nothing stronger. Are 
you any fresher now, or do you want the iron candle 
stick to wake you thoroughly ?" 

A pair of slipshod feet shuffled, hastily, across the 
bare floor of the room, as this interrogatory was put, 
and there issued, from a door on the right hand, first, 
a feeble candle ; and next, the form of the same in 
dividual who has been heretofore described as labor 
ing under the infirmity of speaking through his nose, 
and officiating as waiter at the public-house on Saf 
fron Hill. 

" Bister Sikes !" exclaimed Barney, with real or 
counterfeit joy ; " cub id, sir ; cub id." 

" Here ! you get on first," said Sikes, putting Oli 
ver in front of him. "Quicker! or I shall tread 
upon your heels." 

Muttering a curse upon his tardiness, Sikes push 
ed Oliver before him ; and they entered a low dark 
room, with a smoky fire, two or three broken chairs, 
a table, and a very old couch, on which, with his 
legs much higher than his head, a man was reposing 
at full length, smoking a long clay pipe. He was 
dressed in a smartly -cut snuff- colored coat, with 
large brass buttons ; an orange neckerchief; a coarse, 
staring, shawl-pattern waistcoat ; and drab breeches. 
Mr. Crackit (for he it was) had no very great quan 
tity of hair, either upon his head or face ; but what 
he had was of a reddish dye, and tortured into long 
corkscrew curls, through which he occasionally thrust 
some very dirty fingers, ornamented with large com 
mon rings. He was a trifle above the middle size, 
and apparently rather weak in the legs ; but this 
circumstance by no means detracted from his own 
admiration of his top-boots, which he contemplated, 
in their elevated situation, with lively satisfaction. 

" Bill, my boy !" said this figure, turning his head 
toward the door, " I'm glad to see you. I was al 
most afraid you'd given it up ; in which case I 
should have made a personal wentur. Halloo !" 

Uttering this exclamation in a tone of great sur 
prise, as his eye rested on Oliver, Mr. Toby Crackit 
brought himself into a sitting posture, and demand 
ed who that was. 

" The boy. Only the boy !" replied Sikes, draw 
ing a chair toward the fire. 

" Wud of Bister Fagid's lads," exclaimed Barney, 
with a grin. 

" Fagin's, eh !" exclaimed Toby, looking at Oliver. 
" Wot an inwalable boy that'll make for the old 
ladies' pockets in chapels! His mug is a fortun' to 
him." 

" There there's enough of that," interposed Sikes, 
impatiently ; and stooping over his recumbent friend, 
he whispered a few words in his ear, at which Mr. 
Crackit laughed immensely, and honored Oliver with 
a long stare of astonishment. 

"Now."' said Sikes, as he resumed his seat, "if 
you'll give us something to eat and drink while 
we're waiting, you'll put some heart in us ; or in me, 
at all events. Sit down by the fire, younker, and 
rest yourself; for you'll have to go out with us again 
to-night, though not very far off"." 

Oliver looked at Sikes, in mute and timid wonder ; 



and drawing a stool to the fire, sat with his aching 
head upon his hands, scarcely knowing where he 
was, or what was passing around him. 

" Here," said Toby, as the young Jew placed some 
fragments of food and a bottle upon the table, " Suc 
cess to the crack !" He rose to honor the toast, and, 
carefully depositing his empty pipe in a corner, ad 
vanced to the table, filled a glass with spirits, and 
drank off" its contents. Mr. Sikes did the same. 

"A drain for the boy," said Toby, half filling a 
wine-gtiss. " Down with it, Innocence." 

" Indeed," said Oliver, looking piteously up into 
the man's face, " indeed, I 

" Down with it !" echoed Toby. " Do you think I 
don't know what's good for you I Tell him to drink 
it, Bill." 

" He had better !" said Sikes, clapping his hand 
upon his pocket. " Burn my body, if he isn't more 
trouble than a whole family of. Dodgers ! Drink it, 
you perwerse imp ! drink it !" 

Frightened by the menacing gestures of the two 
men, Oliver hastily swallowed the contents of the 
glass, and immediately fell into a violent fit of cough- 
ing,'which delighted Toby Crackit and Barney, and 
even drew a smile from the surly Mr. Sikes. 

This done, and Sikes having satisfied his appetite 
(Oliver could eat nothing but a small crust of bread 
which they made him swallow), the two men laid 
themselves down on chairs for a short nap. Oliver 
retained his stool by the fire ; Barney, wrapped in a 
blanket, stretched himself on the floor, close outside 
the fender. 

They slept, or appeared to sleep, for some time ; 
nobody stirring but Barney, who rose once or twice 
to throw coals upon the fire. Oliver fell into a heavy 
doze, imagining himself straying along the gloomy 
lanes, or wandering about the dark church-yard, or 
retracing some one or other of the scenes of the past 
day, when he was roused by Toby Crackit jumping 
up and declaring it was half-past one. 

In an instant the other two were on their legs, 
and all were actively engaged in busy preparation. 
Sikes and his companion enveloped their necks and 
chins in large dark shawls, and drew on their great 
coats ; Barney, opening a cupboard, brought forth 
several articles, which he hastily crammed into the 
pockets. 

" Barkers foi>me, Barney," said Toby Crackit. 

" Here they are," replied Barney, producing a pair 
of pistols. " You loaded tiiem yourself." 

"All right !" replied Toby, stowing them away. 
" The persuaders ?" 

" I've got 'em," replied Sikes. 

" Crape, keys, centre-bits, darkies nothing forgot 
ten ?" inquired Toby, fastening a small crowbar to a 
loop inside the skirt of his coat. 

"All right," rejoinedhis companion. " Bring them 
bits of timber, Barney. That's the time of day !" 

With these words, he took a thick stick from Bar 
ney's hands, who, having delivered another to Toby, 
busied himself in fastening on Oliver's cape. 

" Now then !" said Sikes, holding out his hand. 

Oliver, who was completely stupefied by the un 
wonted exercise, and the air, and the drink which had 
been forced upon him, put his hand mechanically into 
that which Sikes extended for that purpose. 



72 



OLIVER TWIST. 



" Take his other hand, Toby," said Sikes. " Look 
out, Barney." 

The man -went to the door, and returned to an 
nounce that all was quiet. The two robbers issued 
forth, with Oliver between them. Barney, having 
made all fast, rolled himself up as before, and was 
soon asleep again. 

It was now intensely dark. The fog was much 
heavier than it had been in the early part of the 
night ; and the atmosphere was so damp, that, al 
though no rain fell, Oliver's hair and ejjpbrows, 
within a few minutes after leaving the house, had 
become stiff with the half-frozen moisture that was 
floating about. They crossed the bridge, and kept 
on toward the lights which he had seen before. 
They were at no great distance off; and, as they 
walked pretty briskly, they soon arrived at Chert- 
sey. 

"Slap through the town," whispered Sikes; 
" there'll be nobody in the way to-night to see us." 

Toby acquiesced; and they hurried through the 
main street of the little town, which at that late 
hour was wholly deserted. A dim light shone at in 
tervals from some bedroom window ; and the hoarse 
barking of dogs occasionally broke the silence of the 
night. But there was nobody abroad. They had 
cleared the town, as the church-bell struck two. 

Quickening their pace, they turned up a road 
upon the left hand. After walking about a quarter 
of a mile, they stopped before a detached house sur 
rounded by a wall, to the top of which, Toby Crack- 
it, scarcely pausing to take breath, climbed in a 
twinkling. 

" The boy next," said Toby. " Hoist him up ; I'll 
catch hold of him." 

Before Oliver had time to look round, Sikes had 
caught him under the arms ; and in three or four 
seconds he and Toby were lying on the grass on the 
other side. Sikes followed directly. And they stole 
cautiously toward the house. 

And now, for the first time, Oliver, well-nigh mad 
with grief and terror, saw that house-breaking and 
robbery, if not murder, were the objects of the expe 
dition. He clasped his hands together, and invol 
untarily uttered a subdued exclamation of horror. 
A mist came before his eyes ; the cold sweat stood 
upon his ashy face ; his limbs failed him, and he 
sank upon his knees. 

" Get up !" murmured Sikes, trembling with rage, 
and drawing the pistol from his pocket ; " get up, 
or I'll strew your brains upon the grass !" 

" Oh ! for God's sake let me go !" cried Oliver ; 
" let me run away and die in the fields. I will nev 
er come near London ; never, never ! Oh ! pray 
have mercy on me, and do not make me steal ! For 
the love of all the bright angels that rest in heav 
en, have mercy upon me !" 

The man to whom this appeal was made swore a 
dreadful oath, and had cocked the pistol, when Toby, 
striking it from his grasp, placed his hand upon the 
boy's mouth and dragged him to the house. 

" Hush !" cried the man ; " it won't answer here. 
Say another word, and I'll do your business myself 
with a crack on the head. That makes no noise, 
a:ul is quite as certain, and more genteel. Here, 
Bill, wrench the shutter open. He's game enough 



now, I'll engage. I've seen older hands of his age 
took the same way for a minute or two on a cold 
night." 

Sikes, invoking terrific imprecations upon Fagiu's 
head for sending Oliver on such an errand, plied the 
crowbar vigorously, but with little noise. After 
some delay, and some assistance from Toby, the 
shutter to which he had referred swung open on its 
hinges. 

It was a little lattice window, about five feet and 
a half above the ground, at the back of the house, 
which belonged to a scullery, or small brewing- 
place, at the end of the passage. The aperture was 
so small, that the inmates had probably not thought 
it worth while to defend it more securely ; but it 
was large enough to admit a boy of Oliver's size, 
nevertheless. A very brief exercise of Mr. Sikes's 
art sufficed to overcome the fastening of the lattice, 
and it soon stood wide open also. 

" Now listen, you young limb !" whispered Sikes, 
drawing a dark-lantern from his pocket, and throw 
ing the glare full on Oliver's face; "I'm a-going to 
put you through 'there. Take this light; go softly 
up the steps straight afore you, and along the little 
hall, to the street-door ; unfasten it, and let us in." 

" There's a bolt at the top you won't be able to 
reach," interposed Toby. " Stand upon one of the 
hall chairs. There are three there, Bill, with a jolly 
large blue unicorn and gold pitchfork on 'em, which 
is the old lady's arms." 

"Keep quiet, can't you?" replied Sikes, with a 
threatening look. " The room-door is open, is it ?" 

" Wide," replied Toby, after peeping in to satisfy 
himself. "The game of 'that is, that they always 
leave it open with a catch, so that the dog, who's 
got a bed in here, may walk up and down the pas 
sage when he feels wakeful. Ha ! ha ! Barney 'ticed 
him away to-night. So neat !" 

Although Mr. Crackit spoke in a scarcely audible 
whisper, and laughed without noise, Sikes imperious 
ly commanded him to be silent, and to get to work. 
Toby complied, by first producing his lantern, and 
placing it on the ground ; then by planting himself 
firmly with his head against the wall beneath the 
window, and his hands upon his knees, so as to make 
a step of his back. This was no sooner done, than 
Sikes, mounting upon him, put Oliver gently through 
the window with his feet first ; and, without leaving 
hold of his collar, planted him safely on the floor in 
side. 

" Take this lantern," said Sikes, looking into the 
room. " You see the stairs afore you ?" 

Oliver, more dead than alive, gasped out, " Yes." 
Sikes, pointing to the street-door with the pistol- 
barrel, briefly advised him to take notice that he was 
within shot all the way ; and that if he faltered, he 
would fall dead that instant. 

" It's done iu a minute," said Sikes, in the same 
low whisper. " Directly I leave go of you, do your 
work. Hark!" 

" What's that ?" whispered the other man. 

They listened intently. 

"Nothing," said Sikes, releasing his hold of Oli 
ver. "Now!" 

In the short time he had had to collect his senses. 
the boy had firmly resolved that, whether he died iu 



MSS. CORNET. 



the attempt or not, he would make one effort to dart 
up staii-s from the hall and alarm the family. Filled 
with this idea, he advanced at once, but stealthily. 

." Come back !" suddenly cried Sikes, aloud " back ! 
back !" 

Scared by the sudden breaking of the dead still 
ness of the place, and by a loud cry which followed 
it, Oliver let his lantern fall, and knew not whether 
to advance or fly. 

The cry was repeated a light appeared a vision 
of two terrified, half-dressed men at the top of the 
stairs swam before his eyes a flash a loud noise 
a smoke- a crash somewhere, but where he knew 
not and he staggered back. 



CHAPTER XXIII. 

WHICH CONTAINS THE SUBSTANCE OF A PLEASANT CON 
VERSATION BETWEEN MR. BUMBLE AND A LADY; AND 
SHOWS THAT EVEN A BEADLE MAT BE SUSCEPTIBLE ON 
SOME POINTS. 

THE night was bitter cold. The snow lay on the 
ground, frozen into a hard thick crust, so that 
only the heaps that had drifted into by-ways and 
corners were affected by the sharp wind that howled 
abroad; which, as if expending increased fury on 
such prey as it found, caught it savagely up in clouds, 
and, whirling it into a thousand misty eddies, scat 
tered it in air. Bleak, dark, and piercing cold, it was 




" DIKECTLY I J.EA.VE GO OF YOU, DO YOUE WORK. HABK !" 



Sikes had disappeared for an instant ; but he was 
up again, and had him by the collar before the smoke 
had cleared away. He fired his own pistol after the 
men, who were already retreating, and dragged the 
boy up. 

" Clasp your arm tighter," said Sikes, as he drew 
him through the window. " Give me a shawl here. 
They've hit him. Quick ! How the boy bleeds !" 

Then came the loud ringing of a bell, mingled with 
the noise of fire-arms, and the shouts of men, and the 
sensation of being carried over uneven ground at a 
rapid pace. And then the noises grew confused in 
the distance ; and a cold deadly feeling crept over 
the boy's heart ; and he saw or heard no more. 



a night for the well-housed and fed to draw round 
the bright fire and thank God they were at home : 
and for the homeless, starving wretch to lay him 
down and die. Many hunger -worn outcasts close 
their eyes in our bare streets at such times, who, let 
their crimes have been what they may, can hardly 
open them in a more bitter world. 

Such were the aspect of out-of-door affairs, when 
Mrs. Corney, the matron of the. work-house to which 
our readers have been already introduced as the 
birthplace of Oliver Twist, sat herself down before 
a cheerful fire in her own little room, and glanced, 
with no small degree of complacency, at a small 
round table, on which stood a tray of corresponding 



74 



OLIVER TWIST. 



size, furnished with all necessary materials for the 
most grateful meal that matrons enjoy. In fact, 
Mrs. Corney was about to solace herself with a cup 
of tea. As she glanced from the table to the fire 
place, where the smallest of all possible kettles was 
singing a small song in a small voice, her inward sat 
isfaction evidently increased so much so, indeed, 
that Mrs. Corney smiled. 

" Well !" said the matron, leaning her elbow on the 
table, and looking reflectively at the fire ; " I'm sure 
we have all on us a great deal to be grateful for ! A 
great deal, if we did but know it. Ah !" 

Mrs. Corney shook her head mournfully, as if de 
ploring the mental blindness of those paupers who 
did not know it ; and thrusting a silver spoon (pri 
vate property) into the inmost recesses of a two- 
ounce tin tea-caddy, proceeded to make the tea. 

How slight a thing will disturb the equanimity of 
our frail minds ! The black tea-pot, being very 
small and easily filled, ran over while Mrs. Corney 
was moralizing, and the water slightly scalded Mrs. 
Corney's hand. 

" Drat the pot !" said the worthy matron, setting 
it down very hastily on the hob : " a little stupid 
thing, that only holds a couple of cups ! What use 
is it of to any body ! Except," said Mrs. Corney, 
pausing, " except to a poor desolate creature like rne. 
Oh dear!" 

With these words, the matron dropped into her 
chair, and, once more resting her elbow on the table, 
thought of her solitary fate. The small tea-pot, and 
the single cup, had awakened in her mind sad recol 
lections of Mr. Corney (who had not been dead more 
than five-aud-twenty years) ; and she was overpow 
ered. 

" I ehall never get another !" said Mrs. Corney, pet 
tishly ; " I shall never get another like him !" 

Whether this remark bore reference to the hus 
band, or the tea-pot, is uncertain. It might have 
been the latter ; for Mrs. Corney looked at it as she 
spoke; and took it up afterward. She had just 
tasted her first cup, when she was disturbed by a 
soft tap at the room-door. 

" Oh, come in with you !" said Mrs. Corney, sharply. 
" Some of the old women dying, I suppose. They al 
ways die when I'm at meals. Don't stand there let 
ting the cold air in, don't. What's amiss now, eh f " 
' " Nothing, ma'am, nothing," replied a man's voice. 

"Dear me!" exclaimed the matron, in a much 
sweeter tone, " is that Mr. Bumble ?" 

" At your service, ma'am," said Mr. Bumble, who 
had been stopping outside to rub his shoes clean, 
and to shake the snow off his coat ; and who now 
made his appearance, bearing the cocked hat in one 
hand and a bundle in the other. " Shall I shut the 
door, ma'am ?" 

The lady modestly hesitated to reply, lest there 
should be any impropriety in holding an interview 
with Mr. Bumble with closed doors. Mr. Bumble 
taking advantage of the hesitation, and being very 
cold himself, shut it without permission. 

" Hard weather, Mr. Bumble," said the matron. 

" Hard, indeed, ma'am," replied the beadle. " Anti- 
porochial weather this, ma'am. We have given away, 
Mrs. Corney, we have given away a matter of twenty 
quartern loaves and a cheese and a half, this very 



blessed afternoon; and yet them paupers are not 
contented." 

" Of course not. When would they be, Mr. Bum 
ble ?" said the matron, sipping her tea. 

" When, indeed, ma'am !" rejoined Mr. Bumble. 
" Why here's one man that, in consideration of his 
wife and large family, has a quartern loaf and a 
good pound of cheese, full weight. Is he grateful, 
ma'am? Is he grateful? Not a copper farthing's 
worth of it ! What does he do, ma'am, but ask for 
a few coals; if it's only a pocket-handkerchief full, 
he says! Coals! What would he do with coals? 
Toast his cheese with 'em, and then come back for 
more. That's the way with these people, ma'am ; 
give 'em a apron -ful of coals to-day, and they'll 
come back for another the day after to-morrow, as 
brazen as alabaster !" 

The matron expressed her entire concurrence in 
this intelligible simile ; and the beadle went on. 

" I never," said Mr. Bumble, " see any thing like 
the pitch it's got to. The day afore yesterday, a 
man you have been a married woman, ma'am, and 
I may mention it to you a man, with hardly a rag 
upon his back (here Mrs. Corney looked at the floor), 
goes to our overseer's door when he has got company 
coming to dinner ; and says, he must be relieved, Mrs. 
Coruey. As he wouldn't go away, and shocked the 
company very much, our overseer sent him out a 
pound of potatoes and half a pint of oatmeal. ' My 
heart !' says the ungrateful villain, ' what's the use 
of this to me ? You might as well give me a pair of 
iron spectacles !' ' Very good,' says our overseer, tak 
ing 'em away again, ' you won't get any thing else 
here.' 'Then I'll die in the streets!' says the va 
grant. ' Oh no, you won't/ says our overseer." 

"Ha! ha! That was very good! So like Mr. 
Granuett, wasn't it ?" interposed the matron. " Well, 
Mr. Bumble ?" 

"Well, ma'am," rejoined the beadle, "he went 
away ; and he did die in the streets. There's a ob 
stinate pauper for you !" 

" It beats any thing I could have believed," ob 
served the matron, emphatically. " But don't you 
think out-of-door relief a very bad thing, any way, 
Mr. Bumble ? You're a gentleman of experience, and 
ought to know. Come." 

" Mrs. Corney," said the beadle, smiling as men 
smile who are conscious of superior information, 
"out-of-door relief, properly managed properly 
managed, ma'arn is the porochial safeguard. The 
great principle of out-of-door relief is, to give the 
paupers exactly what they don't want; and then 
they get tired of coming." 

" Dear me !" exclaimed Mrs. Corney. " Well, that 
is a good one, too !" 

" Yes. Betwixt you and me, ma'am," returned Mr. 
Bumble, " that's the great principle ; and that's the 
reason why, if you look at any cases that get into 
them owdacious newspapers, you'll always observe 
that sick families have been relieved with slices of 
cheese. That's the rule now, Mrs. Corney, all over 
the country. But, however," said the beadle, stop 
ping to unpack his bundle, " these are official secrets, 
ma'am ; not to be spoken of; except, as I may say, 
among the porochial officers, such as ourselves. This 
is the port-wine, ma'am, that the board ordered for 



MRS. CORNET AND MR. BUMBLE. 



the infirmary ; real, fresh, genuine port-wine ; only 
out of the cask this forenoon ; clear as a bell, and 
no sediment !" 

Having held the first bottle up to the light, and 
shaken it well to test its excellence, Mr. Bumble 
placed them both on the top of a chest of drawers ; 
folded the handkerchief in which they had been 
wrapped; put it carefully in his pocket; and took 
up his hat, as if to go. 

" You'll have a very cold walk, Mr. Bumble," said 
the matron. 

" It blows, ma'am," replied Mr. Bumble, turning up 
his coat-collar, " enough to cut one's ears off." 

The matron looked from the little kettle to the 
beadle, who was moving toward the door ; and as 
the beadle coughed, preparatory to bidding her 
good-night, bashfully inquired whether w r hether he 
wouldn't take a cup of tea ? 

Mr. Bumble instantaneously turned back his collar 
again ; laid his hat and stick upon a chair ; and drew 
another chair up to the table. As he slowly seated 
himself, he looked at the lady. She fixed her eyes 
upon the little tea-pot. Mr. Bumble coughed again, 
and slightly smiled. 

Mrs. Corney rose to get another cup and saucer 
from the closet. As she sat down, her eyes once 
again encountered those of the gallant beadle : she 
colored, and applied herself to the task of making 
his tea. Again Mr. Bumble coughed louder this 
time than he had coughed yet. 

" Sweet, Mr. Bumble ?" inquired the matron, tak 
ing up the sugar-basin. 

" Very sweet indeed, ma'am," replied Mr. Bumble. 
He fixed his eyes on Mrs. Corney as he said this ; and 
if ever a beadle looked tender, Mr. Bumble was that 
beadle at that moment. 

The tea was made and handed in silence. Mr. 
Bumble, having spread a handkerchief over his knees 
to prevent the crumbs from sullying the splendor of 
his shorts, began to eat and drink ; varying these 
amusements, occasionally, by fetching a deep sigh ; 
which, however, had no injurious effect upon his ap 
petite, but, on the contrary, rather seemed to facili 
tate his operations in the tea-and-toast department. 

" You have a cat, ma'am, I see," said Mr. Bumble, 
glancing at one who, in the centre of her family, was 
basking before the fire ; " and kittens too, I declare !" 

" I am so fond of them, Mr. Bumble, you can't 
think," replied the matron. " They're so happy, so 
frolicsome, and so cheerful, that they are quite com 
panions for me." 

" Very nice animals, ma'am," replied Mr. Bumble, 
approvingly ; " so very domestic." 

" Oh, yes !" rejoined the matron with enthusiasm ; 
" so fond of their home too, that it's quite a pleasure, 
I'm sure." 

" Mrs. Corney, ma'am," said Mr. Bumble, slowly, and 
marking the time with his tea-spoon, " I mean to say 
this, ma'am ; that any cat, or kitten, that could live 
with you, ma'am, and not be fond of its home, must 
be a ass, ma'am." 

" Oh, Mr. Bumble !" remonstrated Mrs. Corney. 

"It's of no use disguising facts, ma'am, "said Mr. 
Bumble, slowly flourishing the tea-spoon with a kind 
of amorous dignity which made him doubly impress 
ive ; " I would drown it myself with pleasure." 



" Then you're a cruel man," said the matron viva 
ciously, as she held out her hand for the beadle's 
cup ; " and a very hard-hearted man besides." 

" Hard-hearted, ma'am ?" said Mr. Bumble. " Hard ?" 
Mr. Bumble resigned his cup without another word ; 
squeezed Mrs. Corney's little finger as she took it ; 
and inflicting two open-handed slaps upon his laced 
waistcoat, gave a mighty sigh, and hitched his chair 
a very little morsel farther from the tire. 

It was a round table ; and as Mrs. Corney and Mr. 
Bumble had been sitting opposite each other, with 
no great space between them, and fronting the fire, 
it will be seen that Mr. Bumble, in receding from 
the fire, and still keeping at the table, increased the 
distance between himself and Mrs. Corney ; which 
proceeding some prudent readers will doubtless be 
disposed to admire, and to consider an act of great 
heroism- on Mr. Bumble's part : he being in some sort 
tempted by time, place, and opportunity, to give ut 
terance to certain soft nothings, which, however well 
they may become the lips of the light and thought 
less, do seem immeasurably beneath the dignity of 
the judges of the land, members of Parliament, min 
isters of state, lord mayors, and other great public 
functionaries, but more particularly beneath the 
stateliness and gravity of a beadle, who (as is well 
known) should be the sternest and most inflexible 
among them all. 

Whatever were Mr. Bumble's intentions, however 
(and no doitbt they were of the best), it iinfortu- 
nately happened, as has been twice before remarked, 
that the table was a round one; consequently Mr. 
Bumble, moving his chair by little and little, soon 
began to diminish the distance between himself and 
the matron ; and, continuing to travel round the out 
er edge of the circle, brought his chair, in time, close 
to that in which the matron was seated. Indeed, the 
two chairs touched ; and when they did so, Mr. Bum 
ble stopped. 

Now, if the matron had moved her chair to the 
right, she would have been scorched by the fire ; 
and if to the left, she must have fallen into Mr. 
Bumble's arms ; so (being a discreet matron, and no 
doubt foreseeing these consequences at a glance) she 
remained where she was, and handed Mr. Bumble an 
other cup of tea. 

"Hard-hearted, Mrs. Corney?" said Mr. Bumble, 
stirring his tea, and looking up into the matron's 
face ; " are you hard-hearted, Mrs. Corney ?" 

" Dear me !" exclaimed the matron, " what a very 
curious question from a single man ! What can you 
want to know for, Mr. Bumble ?" 

The beadle drank his tea to the last drop ; finished 
a piece of toast ; whisked the crumbs off his knees ; 
wiped his lips ; and deliberately kissed the matron. 

" Mr. Bumble !" cried that discreet lady in a whis 
per ; for the fright was so great, that she had quite 
lost her voice ; " Mr. Bumble, I shall scream !" Mr. 
Bumble made no reply ; but in a slow and dignified 
manner put his arms round the matron's waist. 

As the lady had stated her intention of screaming, 
of course she would have screamed at this additional 
boldness, but that the exertion was rendered unnec 
essary by a hasty knocking at the door : which was 
no sooner heard, than Mr. Bumble darted, with much 
agility, to the wine bottles, aoid began dusting theoi 



76 



OLIVER TWIST. 



with great violence, while the matron sharply de 
manded who was there. It is worthy of remark, as 
a curious physical instance of the efficacy of a sud 
den surprise in counteracting the effects of extreme 
fear, that her voice had quite recovered all its official 
asperity. 

" If you please, mistress," said a withered old fe 
male pauper, hideously ugly, putting her head in at 
the door, " Old Sally is a-going fast." 

" Well, what's that to me ?" angrily demanded the 
matron. " I can't keep her alive, can I ?" 

" No, no, mistress," replied the old woman, " no 
body can ; she's far beyond the reach of help. I've 
seen a many people die little babes and great 
strong men and I know when death's a - coming 
well enough. But she's troubled in her mind ; and 
when the tits are not on her and that's not often, 
for she is dying very hard she says she has got 
something to tell which you must hear. She'll never 
die quiet till you come, mistress." 

At this intelligence, the worthy Mrs. Corney mut 
tered a variety of invectives against old women who 
couldn't even die without purposely annoying their 
betters ; and muffling herself in a thick shawl which 
she hastily caught up, briefly requested Mr, Bumble 
to stay till she came back, lest any thing particular 
should occur. Bidding the messenger walk fast, and 
not be all night hobbling up the stairs, she followed 
her from the room with a very ill grace, scolding all 
the way. 

Mr. Bumble's conduct on being left to himself was 
rather inexplicable. He opened the closet, counted 
the tea-spoons, weighed the sugar-tongs, closely in 
spected a silver milk-pot to ascertain that it was of 
the genuine metal, and, having satisfied his curiosity 
on these points, put on his cocked hat corner-wise, 
and danced with much gravity four distinct times 
round the table. Having gone through this very 
extraordinary performance, he took off the cocked 
hat again, and, spreading himself before the fire with 
his back toward it, seemed to be mentally engaged 
in taking an exact inventory of the furniture. 



CHAPTER XXIV 

TREATS OF A VERT POOR SUBJECT. BUT IS A SHORT 
ONE, AND MAT BE FOUND OF IMPORTANCE IN THIS 
HISTORT. 

IT was no unfit messenger of death who had dis 
turbed the quiet of the matron's room. Her body 
was bent by age ; her limbs trembled with palsy ; 
her face, distorted into a mumbling leer, resembled 
more the grotesque shaping of some wild pencil 
than the work of Nature's hand. 

Alas! how few of Nature's faces are left alone, to 
gladden us with their beauty ! The cares, and sor 
rows, and hungerings, of the world, change them as 
they change hearts ; and it is only when those pas 
sions sleep, and have lost their hold forever, that the 
troubled clouds pass off, and leave Heaven's surface 
clear. It is a common thing for the countenances 
of the dead, even in that fixed and rigid state, to 
subside into the long-forgotten expression of sleep 
ing infancy, and settle into the very look of early 



life. So calm, so peaceful, do they grow again, that 
those Avho knew them in their happy childhood, 
kneel by the coffin's side in awe, and see the Angel 
even upon earth. 

The old crone tottered along the passages, and up 
the stairs, nmttering some indistinct answers to the 
eludings of her companion. Being at length com 
pelled to pause for breath, she gave the light into 
her hand, and remained behind to follow as she 
might; while the more nimble superior made her 
way to the room where the sick woman lay. 

It was a bare garret-room, with a dim light burn 
ing at the farther end. There was another old wom 
an watching by the bed ; the parish apothecary's ap 
prentice was standing by the fire, making a tooth 
pick out of a quill. 

" Cold night, Mrs. Corney," said this young gentle 
man, as the matron entered. 

"Very cold, indeed, sir," replied the mistress, in 
her most civil tones, and dropping a courtesy as she 
spoke. 

" You should get better coals out of your contract 
ors," said the apothecary's deputy, breaking a lump 
on the top of the fire with the rusty poker; "these 
are not at all the sort of thing for a cold night." 

" They're the board's choosing, sir," returned the 
matron. " The least they could do would be to keep 
us pretty warm ; for our places are hard enough." 

The conversation was here interrupted by a moan 
from the sick woman. 

" Oh !" said the young man, turning his face to 
ward the bed, as if he had previously quite forgotten 
the patient, " it's all U P there, Mrs. Corney." 

" It is, is it, sir ?" asked the matron. 

"If she lasts a couple of hours, I shall be sur 
prised," said the apothecary's apprentice, intent 
upon the tooth-pick's point. " It's a break-up of the 
system altogether. Is she dozing, old lady ?" 

The attendant stooped over the bed, to ascertain, 
and nodded in the affirmative. 

" Then perhaps she'll go off in that way, if you 
don't make a row," said the young man. " Put the 
light on the floor. She won't see it there." 

The attendant did as she was told, shaking her 
head meanwhile, to intimate that the woman would 
not die so easily ; having done so, she resumed her 
seat by the side of the other nurse, who had by this 
time returned. The mistress, with an expression of 
impatience, wrapped herself in her shawl, and sat at 
the foot of the bed. 

The apothecary's apprentice, having completed 
the manufacture of the tooth-pick, planted himself 
in front of the fire, and made good use of it for ten 
minutes or so : when apparently growing rather dull, 
he wished Mrs. Corney joy of her job, and took him 
self off on tiptoe. 

When they had sat in silence for some time, the 
two old women rose from the bed, and, crouching 
over the fire, held out their withered hands to catch 
the heat. The flame threw a ghastly light on their 
shriveled faces, and made their ugliness appear ter 
rible, as, in this position, they began to converse in 
a low voice. 

" Did she say any more, Anny dear, while I was 
gone f ' inquired the messenger. 

" Not a word," replied the other. " She plucked 



A DEATH-BED CONFESSION. 



77 



and tore at her arms for a little time ; but I held her 
hands, and she soon dropped off. She hasn't much 
strength in her, so I easily kept her quiet. I ain't 
so weak for an old woman, although I am on parish 
allowance ; no, no !" 

" Did she drink the hot wine the doctor said she 
was to have ?" demanded the first. 

" I tried to get it down," rejoined the other. " But 
her teeth were tight set, and she clenched the mug 
so hard that it was as much as I could do to get it- 
back again. So / drank it ; and it did me good." 

Looking cautiously round, to ascertain that they 
were not overheard, the two hags cowered nearer to 
the fire, and chuckled heartily. 

" I mind the time," said the first speaker, " when 
she would have done the same, and made rare fun of 
it afterward." 

"Ay, that she would," rejoined the other; "she 
had a merry heart. A many, many beautiful corpses 
she laid out, as nice and neat as wax-work. My old 
eyes have seen them ay, and those old hands touch 
ed them too ; for I have helped her scores of times." 

Stretching forth her trembling fingers as she spoke, 
the old creature shook them exultingly before her 
face, and fumbling in her pocket, brought out an old 
time-discolored tin snuff-box, from which she shook 
a few grains into the outstretched palm of her com 
panion, and a few more into her own. While they 
were thus employed, the matron, who had been im 
patiently watching until the dying woman should 
awaken from her stupor, joined them by the fire, and 
sharply asked how long she was to wait ?" 

" Not long, mistress," replied the second woman, 
looking up into her face. "We have none of us long 
to wait for Death. Patience, patience ! He'll be here 
soon enough for us all." 

" Hold your tongue, you doting idiot !' said the 
matron, sternly. " You, Martha, tell me ; has she 
been in this way before ?" 

" Often," answered the first woman. 

". But will never be again," added the second one ; 
" that is, she'll never wake again but once and 
mind, mistress, that won't be for long !" 

" Long or short," said the matron, snappishly, " she 
won't find me here when she does wake ; take care, 
both of you, how you worry me again for nothing. 
It's no part of my duty to see all the old women in 
the house die, and I won't that's more. Mind that, 
you impudent old harridans ! If yovi make a fool of 
me again, I'll soon cure you, I warrant you !" 

She was bouncing away, when a cry from the two 
women, who had turned toward the bed, caused her 
to look round. The patient had raised herself up 
right, and was stretching her arms toward them. 

" Who's that ?" she cried, in a hollow voice. 

" Hush, hush !" said one of the women, stooping 
over her. " Lie down, lie down !" 

" I'll never lie down again alive !" said the woman, 
struggling. " I will tell her ! Come here! Nearer! 
Let me whisper in your ear." 

She clutched the matron by the arm, and forcing her 
into a chair by the bedside, was aboxit to speak, when, 
looking round, she caught sight of the two old women 
bending forward in the attitude of eager listeners. 

" Turn them away," said the woman, drowsily ; 
" make haste ! make haste !" 



The two old crones, chiming in together, began 
pouring out many piteous lamentations that the poor 
dear was too far gone to know her best friends ; and 
were uttering sundry protestations that they would 
never leave her, when the superior pushed them from 
the room, closed the door, and returned to the bed 
side. On being excluded, the old ladies changed 
their tone, and cried through the key-hole that old 
Sally was drunk ; whicli, indeed, was not unlikely ; 
since, in addition to a moderate dose of opium pre 
scribed by the apothecary, she was laboring under 
the effects of a final taste of giu-and-water which 
had been privily administered, in the openness of 
their hearts, by the worthy old ladies themselves. 

" Now listen to me," said the dying woman aloud, 
as if making a great effort to revive one latent spark 
of energy. " In this very room in this very bed 
I once nursed a pretty young creetur that was 
brought into the house with her feet cut and bruised 
with walking, and all soiled with dust and blood. 
She gave birth to a boy, and died. Let me think 
what was the year again ?" 

" Never mind the year," said the impatient audi 
tor ; " what about her ?" 

"Ay," murmured the sick woman, relapsing into 
her former drowsy state, " what about her ?- what 
about I know !" she cried, jumping fiercely up ; her 
face flushed, and her eyes starting from her head 
" I robbed her, so I did ! She wasn't cold I tell 
you she wasn't cold, when I stole it !" 

" Stole what, for God's sake ?" cried the matron, 
with a gesture as if she would call for help. 

"It!" replied the woman, laying her hand over 
the other's mouth. " The only thing she had. She 
wanted clothes to keep her warm, and food to eat ; 
but she had kept it safe, and had it in her bosom. 
It was gold, I tell you ! Rich gold, that might have 
saved her life !" 

"Gold!" echoed the matron, bending eagerly over 
the woman as she fell back. " Go on, go on yes 
what of it ? Who was the mother ? When was it ?" 

" She charged me to keep it safe," replied the wom 
an with a groan, " and trusted me as the only woman 
about her. I stole it in my heart when she first 
showed it me hanging round her neck ; and the 
child's death, perhaps, is on me besides ! They would 
have treated him better if they had known it all !" 

" Known what ?" asked the other. " Speak !" 

" The boy grew so like his mother," said the wom 
an, rambling on, and not heeding the question, 
" that I could never forget it when I saw his face. 
Poor girl ! poor girl ! She was so young, too ! Such 
a gentle lamb ! Wait ; there's more to tell. I have 
not told you all, have I ?" 

" No, no," replied the matron, inclining her head to 
catch the words, as they came more faintly from the 
dying woman. " Be quick, or it may be too late !" 

" The mother," said the woman, making a more 
violent effort than before; "the mother, when the 
pains of death first came upon her, whispered in my 
ear that if her baby was bom alive, and thrived, the 
day might come when it would not feel so much dis 
graced to hear its poor young mother named. 'And 
oh, kind Heaven!' she said, folding her thin hands 
together, ' whether it be boy or girl, raise up some 
friends for it in this troubled world, and take pity 



OLIVER TWIST. 



upon a lonely, desolate child, abandoned to its mer 
cy!"' 

" The boy's name I" demanded the matron. 

" They called him Oliver," replied the woman, fee 
bly. " The gold I stole was " 

" Yes, yes what ?" cried the other. 

She was bending eagerly over the woman to hear 
her reply ; but drew back, instinctively, as she once 
again rose, slowly and stiffly, ^uto a sitting posture ; 
then, clutching the coverlid with both hands, mut 
tered some indistinct sounds in her throat, and fell 

lifeless on the bed. 

****** 

" Stone dead !" said one of the old women, hurry 
ing in as soon as the door was opened. 

"And nothing to tell, after all," rejoined the mat 
ron, walking carelessly away. 

The two crones, to all appearance too busily oc 
cupied in the preparations for their dreadful duties 
to make any reply, were left alone, hovering about 
the body. 



CHAPTER XV. 

WHEREIN THIS HISTORY REVERTS TO ME. PAGIN AND 
COMPANY: 

WHILE these things were passing in the country 
work-house, Mr. Fagiu sat in the old den the 
same from which Oliver had been removed by the 
girl brooding over a dull, smoky fire. He held a 
pair of bellows upon his knee, with which he had ap 
parently been endeavoring to rouse it into more cheer 
ful action ; but he had fallen into deep thought ; and 
with his arms folded on them, and his chin resting 
on his 'thumbs, fixed his eyes abstractedly on the 
rusty bars. 

At a table behind him sat the Artful Dodger, Mas 
ter Charles Bates, and Mr. Chitliug, all intent upon 
a game of whist ; the Artful taking dummy against 
Master Bates and Mr. Chitling. The countenance of 
the first-named gentleman, peculiarly intelligent at 
all times, acquired great additional interest from his 
close observance of the game, and his attentive pe 
rusal of Mr. Chitling's hand ; upon which, from time 
to time, as occasion served, he bestowed a variety of 
earnest glances : wisely regulating his own play by 
the result of his observations upon his neighbor's 
cards. It being a cold night, the Dodger wore his 
hat, as, indeed, was often his custom within doors. 
He also sustained a clay pipe between his teeth, 
which he only removed for a brief space when he 
deemed it necessary to apply for refreshment to a 
quart pot upon the table, which stood ready filled 
with gin -and -water for the accommodation of the 
company. 

Master Bates was also attentive to the play ; but 
being of a more excitable nature than his accom 
plished friend, it was observable that he more fre 
quently applied himself to the gin-and-water, and 
moreover indulged in many jests and irrelevant re 
marks, all highly unbecoming a scientific rubber. 
Indeed, the Artful, presuming upon their close at 
tachment, more than once took occasion to reason 
gravely with his companion upon these improprie 
ties : all of which remonstrances Master Bates re 



ceived in extremely good part ; merely requesting 
his friend to be " Mowed," or to insert his head in a 
sack, or replying with some other neatly-turned wit 
ticism of a similar kind, the happy application of 
which excited considerable admiration in the mind 
of Mr. Chitling. It was remarkable that the latter 
gentleman and his partner invariably lost ; and that 
the circumstance, so far from angering Master Bates, 
appeared to afford him the highest amusement, inas 
much as he laughed most uproariously at the end of 
every deal, and protested that he had never seen such 
a jolly game in all his born days. 

" That's two doubles and the rub," said Mr. Chit- 
ling, with a very long face, as he drew half a crown 
from his waistcoat-pocket. " I never see such a fel 
ler as you, Jack ; you win every thing. Even when 
we've good cards, Charley and I can't make nothing 
of 'em." 

Either the matter or the manner of this remark, 
which was made very ruefully, delighted Charley 
Bates so much, that his consequent shout of laugh 
ter roused the Jew from his reverie, and induced 
him to inquire what was the matter. 

" Matter, Fagiu !" cried Charley. " I wish you 
had watched the play. Tommy Chitling hasn't won 
a point ; and I went partners with him against the 
Artful and dum " 

"Ay, ay!" said the Jew, with a grin, which suffi 
ciently demonstrated that he was at no loss to un 
derstand the reason. " Try 'em again, Tom ; try 'em 
again." 

"No more of it for me, thankee, Fagin," replied 
Mr. Chitling ; " I've had enough. That 'ere Dodger 
has such a run of luck that there's no standing again' 
him." 

" Ha ! ha ! my dear," replied the Jew, " you must 
get up very early in the morning to win against the 
Dodger." 

" Morning !" said Charley Bates ; " you must put 
your boots on over-night, and have a telescope at 
each eye, and a opera-glass between your shoulders, 
if you want to come over Mm." 

Mr. Dawkins received these handsome compliments 
with much philosophy, and offered to cut any gentle 
man in company, for the first picture-card, at a shil 
ling a time. Nobody accepting the challenge, and 
his pipe being by this time smoked out, he proceeded 
to amuse himself by sketching a ground-plan of New 
gate on the table with the piece of chalk which had 
served him in lieu of counters ; whistling meantime, 
with peculiar shrillness. 

" How precious dull you are, Tommy !" said the 
Dodger, stopping short when there had been a long 
silence, and addressing Mr. Chitling. " What do you 
think he's thinking of, Fagin ?" 

"How should I know, my dear?" replied the Jew, 
looking round as he plied the bellows. "About his 
losses, maybe ; or the little retirement in the coun 
try that he's just left, eh ? Ha ! ha ! Is that it, my 
dear?" 

"Not a bit of it," replied the Dodger, stopping the 
subject of discourse as Mr. Chitling was about to re 
ply. " What do you say, Charley ?" 

"/should say," replied Master Bates, with a grin, 
"that he was uncommon sweet upon Betsy. See 
how he's a-blushiug ! Oh, my eye ! here's a merry- 



THE DODGER AND FAGIN. 



go-rounder ! Tommy Chitliug's hi love ! Oh, Fagin, 
Fagin ! what a spree !" 

Thoroughly overpowered with the notion of Mr. 
Chilling being the victim of the tender passion, Mas 
ter Bates threw himself back in his chair with such 
violence that he lost his balance and pitched over 
npon the floor; where (the accident abating nothing 
of his merriment) he lay at full length until his 
laugh was over, when he resumed his former posi 
tion, and began another laugh. 

" Never mind him, my dear," said the Jew, wink 
ing at Mr. Dawkins, and giving Master Bates a re 
proving tap with the nozzle of the bellows. " Bet 
sy's a fine girl. Stick up to her, Tom. Stick up to 
lier." 

" What I mean to say, Fagin," replied Mr. Chitling, 
very red in the face, " is, that that isn't any thing to 
any body here." 

" No more it is," replied the Jew ; " Charley will 
talk. Don't mind him, my dear; don't mind him. 
Betsy's a fine girl. Do as she bids you, Tom, and 
you'll make your fortune.'' 

" So I do do as she bids me," replied Mr. Chitling ; 
" I shouldn't have been milled, if it hadn't been for 
her advice. But it turned out a good job for you ; 
didn't it, Fagiu? And what's six weeks of it? It 
must come, some time or another, and why not in 
the winter-time, when you don't want to go out 
a-walking so much ; eh, Fagin ?" 

"Ah, to be sure, my dear," replied the Jew. 

" You wouldn't mind it again, Tom, would you," 
asked the Dodger, winking upon Charley and the 
Jew, " if Bet was all right ?" 

"I mean to say that I shouldn't," replied Tom, 
angrily. "There now. Ah! Who'll say as much 
as that, I should like to know ; eh, Fagin ?" 

" Nobody, my dear," replied the Jew ; " not a soul, 
Tom. I don't know one of 'em that would do it be 
sides you ; not one of 'em, my dear." 

" I might have got clear off, if I'd split upon her ; 
mightn't I, Fagin ?" angrily pursued the poor half 
witted dupe. "A word from me would have done 
it ; wouldn't it, Fagiu ?" 

" To be sure it would, my dear," replied the Jew. 

" But I didn't blab it ; did I, Fagin ?" demanded 
Tom, pouring question upon question with great 
volubility. 

" No, no, to be sure," replied the Jew, " you were 
too stout-hearted for that. A deal too stout, my 
dear !" 

" Perhaps I was," rejoined Tom, looking round ; 
"and if I was, what's to laugh at in that; eh, Fa 
giu ?" 

The Jew, perceiving that Mr. Chitling was con 
siderably roused, hastened to assure him that no 
body was laughing ; and to prove the gravity of the 
company, appealed to Master Bates, the principal of 
fender. But, unfortunately, Charley, in opening his j 
mouth to reply that he was never more serious in ! 
his life, was unable to prevent the escape of such a ' 
violent roar, that the abused Mr. Chitling, without \ 
any preliminary ceremonies, rushed across the room ' 
and aimed a blow at the offender ; who, being skill 
ful in evading pursuit, ducked to avoid it, and chose 
liis time so well that it lighted on the chest of the 
merry old gentleman, and caused him to stagger to 



the wall, where he stood panting for breath, while 
Mr. Chitling looked on in intense dismay. 

" Hark !" cried the Dodger at this moment, I heard 
the tinkler." Catching up the light, he crept softly 
up stairs. 

The bell was rung again, with some impatience, 
while the party were in darkness.' After a short 
pause, the Dodger reappeared, and whispered Fagin 
mysteriously. 

" What !" cried the Jew, alone ?'" 

The Dodger nodded in the affirmative, and shad 
ing the flame of the candle with his hand, gave 
Charley Bates a private intimation, in dumb show, 
that he had better not be funny just then. Having 
performed this friendly office, he fixed his eyes on 
the Jew's face, and awaited his directions. 

The old man bit his yellow fingers, and meditated 
for some seconds ; his face working with agitation 
the while, as if he dreaded something, and feared to 
know the worst. At length he raised his head. 

" Where is he f he asked. 

The Dodger pointed to the floor above, and made 
a gesture, as if to leave the room. 

" Yes," said the Jew, answering the mute inquiry ; 
"bring him down. Hush! Quiet, Charley! Gen 
tly, Tom ! Scarce, scarce !" 

This brief direction to Charley Bates, and his re 
cent antagonist, was softly and immediately obeyed. 
There was no sound of their whereabout when the 
Dodger descended the stairs, bearing the light in 
his hand, and followed by a man in a coarse smock- 
frock ; who, after casting a hurried glance round 
the room, pulled off a large wrapper which had con 
cealed the lower portion of his face, and disclosed, 
all haggard, unwashed, and unshorn, the features of 
flash Toby Crackit. 

" How are you, Faguey ?" said this worthy, nod 
ding to the Jew. " Pop that shawl away in my 
castor, Dodger, so that I may know where to find it 
when I cut; that's the time of day! You'll be a 
fine young cracksman afore the old file now." 

With these words he pulled up the smock-frock, 
and, winding it round his middle,, drew a chair to 
the fire, and placed his feet upon the hob. 

" See there, Faguey," he said, pointing disconso 
lately to his top-boots ; " not a drop of Day and Mar 
tin since, you know when ; not a bubble of blacking, 
by Jove! But don't look at me in that way, man. 
All in good time. I can't talk about business till 
I've eat and drank ; so produce the sustainance, and 
let's have a quiet fill-out for the first time these 
three days !" 

The Jew motioned to the Dodger to place what eat 
ables there were upon the table ; and, seating him 
self opposite the house-breaker, waited his leisure. 

To judge from appearances, Toby was by no means 
in a hurry to open the conversation. At first, the 
Jew contented himself with patiently watching his 
countenance, as if to gain from its .expression some 
clue to the intelligence he brought; but in vain. 
He looked tired and worn, but there was the same 
complacent repose upon his features that they al 
ways wore ; and through dirt, and beard, and whis 
ker, there still shone, unimpaired^ the self-satisfied 
smirk of flash Toby Crackit. Then the Jew, in an 
agony of impatience, watched every morsel he put 



80 



OLIVER TWIST. 



into his mouth; pacing np and down the room, 
meanwhile, in irrepressible excitement. It was all 
of no nse. Toby continued to eat, with the utmost 
outward indifference, until he could .eat no more ; 
then, ordering the Dodger out, he closed the door, 
mixed a glass of spirits-and-water, and composed 
himself for talking. 

" First and foremost, Faguey " said Toby. 

"Yes, yes!" interposed the Jew, drawing up his 
chair. 

Mr. Crackit stopped to take a draught of spirits- 
and-water, and to declare that the gin was excellent ; 
then, placing his feet against the low mantel-piece, 
so as to bring his boots to about the level of his eye, 
he quietly resumed. 

"First and foremost, Faguey," said the house 
breaker, " how's Bill ?" 

" What !" screamed the Jew, starting from his seat. 

"Why, you don't mean to say " began Toby, 
turning pale. 

" Mean !" cried the Jew, stamping furiously on the 
ground. "Where are they Sikes and the boy? 
* Where are they ? Where have they been ? Where 
are they hiding ? Why have they iiot been here ?" 

" The crack failed," said Toby, faintly. 

" I know it," replied the Jew, tearing a newspaper 
from his pocket, and pointing to it. " What more f ' 

"They fired and hit the boy. We cut over the 
fields at the back with him between us straight as 
the crow flies through hedge and ditch. They 
gave chase. Damme ! the whole country was awake, 
and the dogs upon us." 

"The boy?" 

" Bill had him on his back, and scudded like the 
wind. We stopped to take him between us; his 
head Imng down, and he was cold. They were close 
upon our heels; every man for himself, and each 
from the gallows! We parted company, and left 
the youngster lying in a ditch. Alive or dead, that's 
all I know about him." 

The Jew stopped to hear no more ; but uttering a 
loud yell, and twining his hands in his hair, rushed 
from the room and from the house. 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

IN WHICH A MYSTERIOUS CHARACTER APPEARS UPON THE 
SCENE; AND MANY THINGS INSEPARABLE FROM THIS 
HISTORY ARE DONE AND PERFORMED. 

THE old man had gained the street corner before 
he began to recover the effect of Toby Crackit's 
intelligence. He had relaxed nothing of his unusual 
speed ; but was still pressing onward, in the same 
wild and disordered manner, when the sudden dash 
ing past of a carriage, and a boisterous cry from the 
foot-passengers, who saw his danger, drove him back 
upon the pavement. Avoiding as much as possible 
all the main streets, and skulking only through the 
by-ways and alleys, he at length emerged on Snow 
Hill. Here he walked even faster than before ; nor 
did he linger until he had again turned into a court ; 
when, as if conscious that he was now in his proper 
element, he fell into his usual shuffling pace, and 
seemed to breathe more freely. 



Near to the spot on which Snow Hill and Holborn 
Hill meet, there opens, upon the right hand as you 
come out of the City, a narrow and dismal alley lead 
ing to Saffron Hill. In its filthy shops are exposed 
for sale huge bunches of second-hand silk handker 
chiefs, of all sizes and patterns ; for here reside the 
traders who purchase them from pickpockets. Hun 
dreds of these handkerchiefs hang dangling from 
pegs outside the windows or flaunting from the door 
posts; and the shelves within are piled with them. 
Confined as the limits of Field Lane are, it has its 
barber, its coffee-shop, its beer-shop, and its fried-fish 
warehouse. It is a commercial colony of itself: the 
emporium of petty larceny : visited at early morn 
ing, and setting-ill of dusk, by silent merchants, who 
traffic in dark back-parlors, and who go as strangely 
as they come. Here the clothesman, the shoe-varnp- 
er, and the rag-merchant, display their goods as sign 
boards to the petty thief; here stores of old iron and 
bones, and heaps of mildewy fragments of woolen- 
stuff and linen, rust and rot in the grimy cellars. 

It was into this place that the Jew turned. He 
was well known to the sallow denizens of the lane ; 
for such of them as were on the look-out to buy or 
sell, nodded familiarly as he passed along. He re 
plied to their salutations in the same way ; but be 
stowed no closer recognition imtil he reached the 
farther end of the alley, Avhen he stopped to address 
a salesman of small stature, who had squeezed ;:s 
much of his person into a child's chair as the chair 
would hold, and was smoking a pipe at his ware 
house door. 

" Why, the sight of you, Mr. Fagin, would cure the 
hoptalmy !" said this respectable trader, in acknowl 
edgment of the Jew's inquiry after his health. 

" The neighborhood was a little too hot, Lively," 
said Fagin, elevating his eyebrows, and crossing his 
hands upon his shoulders. 

"Well, I've heerd that complaint of it once or 
twice before," replied the trader ; " but it soon cools 
down again ; don't you find it so ?" 

Fagin nodded in the affirmative. Pointing in the 
direction of Saffron Hill, he inquired whether any 
one was up yonder to-night. 

" At the Cripples ?" inquired the man. 

The Jew nodded. 

"Let me see," pursued the merchant, reflecting. 
" Yes, there's some half dozen of 'em gone in, that I 
knows. I don't think your friend's there." 

" Sikes is not, I suppose?" inquired the Jew, witli 
a disappointed countenance. 

" Xon istwentus, as the lawyers say," replied the lit 
tle man, shaking his head, and looking amazingly 
sly. " Have you got any thing in my line to-night I" 

" Nothing to-night," said the Jew, turning away. 

"Are you going up to The Cripples, Fagiu?" cried 
the little man, calling after him. " Stop ! I don't 
mind if I have a drop there with you." 

But as the Jew, looking back, waved his hand to 
intimate that he preferred being alone, and, more 
over, as the little man could not very easily disen 
gage himself from the chair, the sign of The Cripples 
was for a time bereft of the advantage of Mr. Live- 
ly's presence. By the time he had got upon his legs 
the Jew had disappeared ; so Mr. Lively, after inef 
fectually standing on tiptoe, in the hope of catch- 



FAGIN AMONG HIS DEVOTED SERVANTS. 



81 



ing sight of him, again forced himself into the little 
chair, and, exchanging a shake of the head with a 
lady in the opposite shop, in which doubt and mis- 
t rust were plainly mingled, resumed his pipe with a 
grave demeanor. 

The Three Cripples, or rather The Cripples, which 
was the sign by which the establishment was famil 
iarly known to its patrons, was the public-house in 
which Mr. Sikes and his dog have already figured. 
Merely making a sign to a man at the bar, Fagin 
walked straight up stairs, and opening the door of a 
room, and softly insinuating himself into the cham 
ber, looked anxiously about shading his eyes with 
his hand, as if in search of some particular person. 

The room was illuminated by two gas-lights ; the 
glare of which was prevented, by the barred shut 
ters and closely-drawn curtains of faded red, from 
being visible outside. The ceiling was blackened, 
to prevent its color from being injured by the flar 
ing of the lamps ; and the place was so full of dense 
tobacco smoke, that at first it was scarcely possible 
to discern any thing more. By degrees, however, as 
some of it cleared away through the open door, an 
assemblage of heads, as confused as the noises that 
greeted the ear, might be made out ; and as the eye 
grew more accustomed to the scene, the spectator 
gradually became aware of the presence of a numer 
ous company, male and female, crowded round a 
long table, at the upper end of which sat a chair 
man, with a hammer of office in his hand; while a 
professional gentleman, with a bluish nose, and his 
face tied up for the benefit of a toothache, presided 
at a jingling piano in a remote corner. 

As Fagin stepped softly in, the professional gen 
tleman, running over the keys by way of prelude, 
occasioned a general cry of order for a song ; which 
having subsided, a young lady proceeded to enter 
tain the company with a ballad in four verses, be 
tween each of which the accompanyist played the 
melody all through, as loud as he could. When this 
was over, the chairman gave a sentiment, after which 
the professional gentlemen on the chairman's right 
and left volunteered a duet, and sang it with great 
applause. 

It was curious to observe some faces which stood 
out prominently from among the group. There was 
the chairman himself (the landlord of the house), a 
coarse, rough, heavy -built fellow, who, while the 
songs were proceeding, rolled his eyes hither and 
thither, and, seeming to give himself up to joviality, 
had an eye for every thing that was done, and an 
ear for every thing that was said and sharp ones, 
too. Near him were the singers, receiving with pro 
fessional indifference the* compliments of the com 
pany, and applying themselves, in turn, to a dozen 
proffered glasses of spirits-and-water, tendered by 
their more boisterous admirers, whose countenances, 
expressive of almost every vice, in almost every 
grade, irresistibly attracted the attention by their 
very repulsiveness. Cunning, ferocity, and drunk 
enness in all its stages, were there in their strongest 
aspects; and women, some with the last lingering 
tinge of their early freshness almost fading as you 
looked ; others with every mark and stamp of their 
sex utterly beaten out. and presenting but one loath 
some blank of profligacy and crime ; some mere girls, 
F 



others but young women, and none past the prime 
of life ; formed the darkest and saddest portion of 
this dreary picture. 

Fagin, troubled by no grave emotions, looked ea 
gerly from face to face while these proceedings were 
in progress, but apparently without meeting that of 
which he was in search. Succeeding at length in 
catching the eye of the man who occupied the chair, 
he beckoned to him slightly, and left the room as 
quietly as he had entered it. 

" What can I do for you, Mr. Fagin ?" inquired the 
man, as he followed him out to the landing. "Won't 
you join us ? They'll be delighted, every one of 'em." 

The Jew shook his head impatiently, and said, in a 
whisper, " Is lie here ?" 

" No," replied the man. 

"And no news of Barney ?" inquired Fagin. 

tf None," replied the landlord of The Cripples ; for 
it was he. " He won't stir till it's all safe. Depend 
on it, they're on the scent down there ; and that if 
he moved, he'd blow upon the thing at once. He's 
all right enough, Barney is, else I should have heard 
of him. I'll pound it, that Barney's managing prop 
erly. Let him alone for that !" 

" Will he be here to-night ?" asked the Jew, laying 
the same emphasis on the pronoun as before. 

"Monks, do you mean?" inquired the landlord, 
hesitating. 

" Hush !" said the Jew. " Yes." 

" Certain," replied the man, drawing a gold watch 
from his fob ; " I expected him here before now. If 
you'll wait ten minutes, he'll be " 

" No, no," said the Jew, hastily ; as though, how 
ever desirous he might be to see the person in ques 
tion, he was nevertheless relieved by his absence. 
" Tell him I came here to see him ; and that he must 
come to me to-night. No, say to-morrow. As he is 
not here, to-morrow will be time enough." 

" Good !" said the man. " Nothing more ?" 

" Not a word now," said the Jew, descending the 
stairs. 

" I say," said the other, looking over the rails, and 
speaking in a hoarse whisper ; " what a time this 
would be for a sell ! I've got Phil Barker here, so 
drunk that a boy might take him." 

"Aha!, But it's not Phil Barker's time," said the 
Jew, looking up. " Phil has something more to do 
before we can afford to part with him ; so go back 
to the company, my dear, and tell them to lead mer 
ry lives while they last. Ha ! ha ! ha !" 

The landlord reciprocated the old man's laugh, 
and returned to his guests. The Jew was no sooner 
alone, than his countenance resumed its former ex 
pression of anxiety and thought. After a brief re 
flection, he called a hack cabriolet, and bade the 
man drive toward Betlmal Green. He dismissed 
him within some quarter of a mile of Mr. Sikes's 
residence, and performed the short remainder of the 
distance on foot. 

" Now," muttered the Jew, as he knocked at the 
door, " if there is any deep play here, I shall have it 
out of you, niy girl, cunning as you are." 

She was in her room, the \vomau said. Fagin crept 
softly up stairs, and entered it without any previous 
ceremony. The girl was alone ; lying with her head 
upon the table, and her hair straggling over it. 



OLIVER TWIST. 



" She has beeii drinking," thought the Jew, coolly, 
" or perhaps she is only miserable." 

The old man turned to close the door as he made 
this reflection ; the noise thus occasioned roused the 
girl. She eyed his crafty face narrowly as she in 
quired whether there was any news, and as she list 
ened to his recital of Toby Crackit's story. When 
it was concluded, she sank into her former attitude, 
but spoke not a word. She pushed the candle im 
patiently away ; and once or twice, as she feverish 
ly changed her position, shuffled her feet upon the 
ground ; but this was all. 

During the silence, the Jew looked restlessly about 
the room, as if to assure himself that there were no 
appearances of Sikes having covertly returned. Ap 
parently satisfied with his inspection, he coughed 
twice or thrice, and made as many efforts to open a 
conversation ; but the girl heeded him no more than 
if he had been made of stone. At length he made 
another attempt; and rubbing his hands together, 
said, in his most conciliatory tone, 

"And where should you think Bill was now, my 
dear?" 

The girl moaned out some half intelligible reply 
that she could not tell ; and seemed, from the smoth 
ered noise that escaped her, to be crying. 

"And the boy, too," said the Jew, straining his 
eyes to catch a glimpse of her face. ". Poor leetle 
child ! Left in a ditch, Nance ; only think !" 

"The child!" said the girl, suddenly looking up, 
" is better where he is than among us ; and if no 
harm comes to Bill from it, I hope he lies dead in the 
ditch, and that his young bones may rot there." 

" What !" cried the Jew, in amazement. 

"Ay, I do," returned the girl, meeting his gaze. 
" I shall be glad to have him away from my eyes, 
and to know that the worst is over. I can't bear 
to have him about me. The sight of him turns me 
against myself, and all of you." 

" Pooh !" said the Jew, scornfully. " You're drunk." 

"Ami?" cried the girl, bitterly. "It's no fault 
of yours, if I am not ! You'd never have me any 
thing else, if you had your will, except now ; the 
humor doesn't suit you, doesn't it ?" 

" No !" rejoined the Jew, furiously. " It does not." 

"Change it, then!" responded the girl, with a 
laugh. 

" Change it !" exclaimed the Jew, exasperated be 
yond all bounds by his companion's unexpected ob 
stinacy, and the vexation of the night. " I WILL 
change it ! Listen to me, you drab ! Listen to me, 
who with six words can strangle Sikes as surely as 
if I had his bull's throat between my fingers now. 
If he comes back, and leaves the boy behind him if 
he gets off" free, and, dead or alive, fails to restore him 
to me murder him yourself if you would have him 
escape Jack Ketch. And do it the moment he sets 
foot in this room, or, mind me, it will be too late !" 

" What is all this ?" cried the girl, involuntarily. 

"What is it?" pursued Fagiu, mad with rage. 
" When the boy's worth hundreds of pounds to me, 
am I to lose what chance threw me in the way of 
getting safely, through the whims of a drunken gang 
that I could whistle away the lives of? And me 
bound, too, to a born devil that only wants the will, 
and has the power to, to " 



Panting for breath, the old man stammered for a 
word ; and in that instant checked the torrent of his 
wrath, and changed his whole demeanor. A moment 
before, his clenched hands had grasped the air, his 
eyes had dilated, and his face grown livid with pas 
sion ; but now he shrunk into a chair, and, cowering 
together, trembled with the apprehension of having 
himself disclosed some hidden villainy. After a 
short silence, he ventured to look round at his com 
panion. He appeared somewhat reassured, on be 
holding her in the same listless attitude from which 
he had first roused her. 

" Nancy, dear !" croaked the Jew in his usual voice. 
" Did you mind me, dear ?" 

"Don't worry me now, Fagiu!" replied the girl, 
raising her head languidly. " If Bill has not done 
it this time, he will another. He has done many a 
good job for you, and Avill do many more when he 
can ; and when he can't he won't ; so no more about 
that." 

" Regarding this boy, my dear ?" said the Jew, rub 
bing the palms of his hands nervously together. 

"The boy must take his chance with the rest," in 
terrupted Nancy, hastily ; " and I say again, I hope 
he is dead, and out of harm's way, and out of yours 
that is, if Bill comes to no harm. And if Toby 
got clear oif, Bill's pretty sure to be safe ; for Bill's 
worth two of Toby any time." 

"And about what I was saying, my dear?" ob 
served the Jew, keeping his glistening eye steadily 
upon her. 

" You must say it all over again, if it's any thing 
you want me to do," rejoined Nancy; "and if it is, 
you had better wait till to-morrow. You put mo up 
for a minute ; but now I'm stupid again." 

Fagin put several other questions, all with the 
same drift of ascertaining whether the girl had prof 
ited by his unguarded hints ; but she answered them 
so readily, and was withal so utterly unmoved by liis 
searching looks, that his original impression of her 
being more than a trifle in liquor was confirmed. 
Nancy, indeed, was not exempt from a failing which 
was very common among the Jew's female pupils ; 
and in which, in their tenderer years, they were rath 
er encouraged than checked. Her disordered ap 
pearance, and a wholesale perfume of Geneva which 
pervaded the apartment, afforded strong confirmato 
ry evidence of the justice of the Jew's supposition ; 
and when, after indulging in the temporary display 
of violence above described, she subsided, first into 
dullness, and afterward into a compound of feelings, 
under the influence of which she shed tears one min 
ute, and in the next gave utterance to various ex 
clamations of " Never sajfc die !" and divers calcula 
tions as to what might be the amount of the odds so 
long as a lady or gentleman was happy, Mr. Fagin, 
who had had considerable experience of such matters 
in his time, saw, with great satisfaction, that she was 
very far gone indeed. 

Having eased his mind by this discovery; and 
having accomplished his twofold object of imparting 
to the girl what he had that night heard, and of as 
certaining with his own eyes that Sikes had not re 
turned, Mr. Fagin again turned his face homeward, 
leaving his young Mend asleep, with her head upon 
the table. 



FAGIN AND HIS VISITOR. 



8;5 



It was withiii an hour of midnight. The weather 
being dark and piercing cold, lie had no great temp 
tation to loiter. The sharp wind that scoured the 
streets seemed to have cleared them of passengers, 
as of dust and mud, for few people were abroad, and 
they were to all appearance hastening fast home. 
It blew from the right quarter for the Jew, however, 
and straight before it he went, trembling, and shiv 
ering, as every fresh gnst drove him rudely on his 
way. 

He had reached the corner of his own street, and 
was already fumbling in his pocket for the door-key, 
when a dark figure emerged from a projecting en 
trance which lay in deep shadow, and, crossing the 
road, glided up to him unperceived. 

" Fagiu !" whispered a voice close to his ear. 



remarking that he had better say what he had got 
to say under cover ; for his blood was chilled with 
standing about so long, and the wind blew through 
him. 

Fagin looked as if he could have willingly excused 
himself from taking home a visitor at that unseason 
able hour ; and, indeed, muttered something about 
having no fire ; but his companion repeating his re 
quest in a peremptory manner, he unlocked the door, 
and requested bim to close it softly, while he got a 
light. 

" It's as dark as the grave," said the man, groping 
forward a few steps. " Make haste !" 

" Shut the door," whispered Fagiu, from the end 
of the passage. As he spoke, it closed with a loud 
noise. 




FAGIN !' WHISPERED A VOICE CLOSE TO HIS EAE." 



"Ah!" said the Jew, turning quickly round, "is 
that 

"Yes!" interrupted the stranger. "I have been 
lingering here these two hours. Where the devil 
have you been?" 

" On your business, my dear," replied the Jew, 
glancing uneasily at his companion, and slackening 
his pace as he spoke. " On your business, all night." 

" Oh, of course," said the stranger, with a sneer. 
" Well ; and what's come of it ?" 

" Nothing good," said the Jew. 

" Nothing bad, I hope ?" said the stranger, stopping 
short and turning a startled look on his companion. 

The Jew shook his head, and was about to reply, 
when the stranger, interrupting him, motioned to the 
house, before which they had by this time arrived ; 



" That wasn't my doing," said the other man, feel 
ing his way. " The wind blew it to, or it shut of its 
own accord, one or the other. Look sharp with the 
light, or I shall knock my brains out against some 
thing in this confounded hole." 

Fagin stealthily descended the kitchen stairs. Af 
ter a short absence, he returned with a lighted cau 
dle, and the intelligence that Toby Crackit was asleep 
in the back room below, and that the boys were in the 
front one. Beckoning the man to follow him, he led 
the way up stairs. 

" We can say the few words we've got to say in 
here, my dear," said the Jew, throwing open a door 
on the first floor ; " and as there are holes in the shut 
ters, and we never show lights to our neighbors, we'll 
set the candle on the stairs. There !" 



64 



OLIVER TWIST. 



With those words, the Jew, stooping down, placed 
the candle on an upper flight of stairs exactly oppo 
site to the room-door. This done, he led the way 
into the apartment ; which was destitute of all mov 
ables save a broken arm-chair, and an old couch or 
sofa, without covering, which stood behind the door. 
Upon this piece of furniture the stranger sat himself 
with the air of a weary man ; and the Jew, drawing 
up the arm-chair opposite, they sat face to face. It 
was not quite dark ; the door was partially open, 
and the candle outside threw a feeble reflection on 
the opposite wall. 

They conversed for some time in whispers. Though 
nothing of the conversation was distinguishable be 
yond a few disjointed words here and there, a listen 
er might easily have perceived that Fagiii appeared 
to be defending himself against some remarks of the 
stranger, and that the latter was in a state of con 
siderable irritation. They might have been talking 
thus for a quarter of an hour or more, when Monks 
by which name the Jew had designated the strange 
man several times in the course of their colloquy 
said, raising his voice a little, 

" I tell you again, it w r as badly planned. Why not 
have kept him here among the rest, and made a sneak 
ing, sniveling pickpocket of him at once ?" 

" Only hear him !" exclaimed the Jew, shrugging 
his shoulders. 

"Why, do you mean to say you couldn't have 
done it if you had chosen ?" demanded Monks, stern 
ly. " Haven't you done it with other boys scores of 
times ? If you had had patience for a twelvemonth 
at most, couldn't you have got him convicted, and 
sent safely out of the kingdom perhaps for life ?" 

" Whose turn would that have served, my dear ?" 
inquired the Jew, humbly. 

" Mine," replied Monks. 

" But not mine," said the Jew, submissively. " He 
might have become of use to me. W T hen there are 
two parties to a bargain, it is only reasonable that 
the interests of both should be consulted ; is it, my 
good friend f " 

" What then ?" demanded Monks. 

" I saw it was not easy to train him to the busi 
ness," replied the Jew ; " he was not like other boys 
in the same circumstances." 

" Curse him, no !" muttered the man, " or he would 
have been a thief long ago." 

"I had no hold upon him to make him worse," 
pursued the Jew, anxiously watching the counte 
nance of his companion. " His hand was not in. I 
had nothing to frighten him with ; which we always 
must have in the beginning, or we labor in vain. 
What could I do ? Send him out with the Dodger 
and Charley ? We had enough of that at first, my 
dear ; I trembled for us all." 

" That was not my doing," observed Monks. 

" No, no, my dear !" renewed the Jew. "And I don't 
quarrel with it now ; because, if it had never hap 
pened, you might never have clapped eyes upon the 
hoy to notice him, and so led to the discovery that 
it was him you were looking for. W T ell ! I got him 
hack for you by means of the girl; and then she be 
gins to favor him." 



" Throttle the girl !" said Monks, impatiently. 

' Why, we can't afford to do that just now, my 
dear," replied the Jew, smiling; "and, besides, that 
sort of thing is not in our way ; or, one of these d:i vs. 
I might be glad to have it done. I know what these 
girls are, Monks, well. As soon as the boy begins to 
harden, she'll care no more for him than for a block 
of wood. You want him made a thief. If he is alive, 
I can make him one from this time ; and if if " 
said the Jew, drawing nearer to the other " it's not 
likely, mind but if the worst comes to the worst, 
and he is dead " 

"It's no fault of mine if he is!" interposed the oth 
er man, with a look of terror, and clasping the Jew's 
arm with trembling hands. "Mind that, Fagiii! I 
had no hand in it. Any thing but his death, I told 
you from the first. I won't shed blood ; it's always 
found out, and haunts a man besides. If they shot 
him dead, I was not the cause ; do you hear me ? 
Fire this infernal don ! What's that ?" 

"What!" cried the Jew, grasping the coward round 
the body with both arms, as he sprung to his feet. 
" Where ?" 

"Yonder!" replied the man, glaring at the oppo 
site wall. " The shadow ! I saw the shadow of a 
woman, in a cloak and bonnet, pass along the wain 
scot like a breath !" 

The Jew released his hold, and they rushed tu- 
multuously from the room. The candle, wasted by 
the draught, was standing where it had been placed. 
It showed them only the empty staircase and their 
own white faces. They listened intently: a pro 
found silence reigned throughout the house. 

"It's your fancy," said the Jew, taking up the 
light and turning to his companion. 

" I'll swear I saw it !" replied Monks, trembling. 
" It was bending forward when I saw it first ; and 
when I spoke it darted away." 

The Jew glanced contemptuously at the pale face 
of his associate, and telling him he could follow if he 
pleased, ascended the stairs. They looked into all 
the rooms ; they were cold, bare, and empty. They 
descended into the passage, and thence into the cel 
lars below. The green damp hung upon the low 
walls ; the tracks of the snail and slug glistened in 
the light of the candle ; but all was still as death. 

" What do you think, now ?" said the Jew, when 
they had regained the passage. " Besides ourselves, 
there's not a creature in the house except Toby arid 
the boys ; and they're safe enough. See here !" 

As a proof of the fact, the Jew drew forth two 
keys from his pocket ; and explained, that when he 
first went down stairs he had locked them in, to pre 
vent any intrusion on the conference. 

This accumulated testimony effectually staggered 
Mr. Monks. His protestations had gradually become 
less and less vehement as they proceeded in their 
search without making any discovery ; and now he 
gave vent to several very grim laughs, and con 
fessed it could only have been his excited imagina 
tion. He declined any renewal of the conversation, 
however, for that night, suddenly remembering that 
it \\as past one o'clock. And so the amiable couple 
parted. 



BUMBLE FURTHER ALLAYS HIS CURIOSITY. 



85 



CHAPTER XXVII. 

ATONES FOR THE UNPOLITENESS OF A FORMER CHAPTER, 
WHICH DESERTED A LADY MOST UNCEREMONIOUSLY. 

AS it would be by no means seemly in a humble 
author to keep so mighty a personage as a bea 
dle waiting, with his back to the fire, and the skirts 
of his coat gathered up under his arms, until such 
time as itmight suit his pleasure to relieve him ; and 
as it would still less become his station or his gal 
lantry to involve in the same neglect a lady on whom 
that beadle had looked with an eye of tenderness and 
affection, and in whose ear he had whispered sweet 
words, which, coming from such a quarter, might 
well thrill the bosom of maid or matron of whatso 
ever degree ; the historian whose pen traces these 
words trusting that he knows his place, and that 
he entertains a becoming reverence for those upon 
earth to whom high and important authority is del 
egated hastens to pay them that respect which 
their position demands, and to treat them with all 
that duteous ceremony which their exalted rank, 
and (by consequence) great virtues, imperatively 
claim at his hands. Toward this end, indeed, he had 
purposed to introduce, in this place, a dissertation 
touching the divine right of beadles, and elucidative 
of the position that a beadle can do no wrong ; which 
could not fail to have been both pleasurable and 
profitable to the right-minded reader, but which 
he is unfortunately compelled, by want of time and 
space, to postpone to some more convenient and fit 
ting opportunity ; on the arrival of which, he will 
be prepared to show, that a beadle properly consti 
tuted that is to say, a parochial beadle, attached to 
a parochial work-house, and attending in his official 
capacity the parochial church is, in right and virtue 
of his office, possessed of all the excellences and best 
qualities of humanity; and that to none of those 
excellences can mere companies' beadles, or court-of- 
law beadles, or even chapel-of-ease beadles (save the 
last, and they in a very lowly and inferior degree), 
lay the remotest sustainable claim. 

Mr. Bumble had re-counted the tea-spoons, re- 
weighed the sugar-tongs, made a closer inspection 
of the milk-pot, and ascertained to a nicety the ex 
act condition of the furniture, down to the very 
horse-hair seats of the chairs ; and had repeated each 
process full half a dozen times, before he began to 
think that it was time for Mrs. Comey to return. 
Thinking begets thinking : as there were no sounds 
of Mrs. Corney's approach, it occurred to Mr. Bumble 
that it would be an innocent and virtuous way of 
spending the time, if he were further to allay his 
curiosity by a cursory glance at the interior of Mrs. 
Corney's chest of drawers. 

Having listened at the key-hole, to assure himself 
that nobody was approaching the chamber, Mr. Bum 
ble, beginning at the bottom, proceeded to make him 
self acquainted with the contents of the three long 
drawers ; which, being filled with various garments 
of good fashion and texture, carefully preserved be- 
tweeu two layers of old newspapers, speckled with 
dried lavender, seemed to yield him exceeding sat 
isfaction. Arriving, in course of time, at the right- 
hand corner drawer (in which was the key), and be 
holding therein a small padlocked box, which, being 



shaken, gave forth a pleasant sound, as of the chink 
ing of coin, Mr. Bumble returned with a stately walk 
to the fire-place ; and, resuming his old attitude, said, 
with a grave and determined air, " I'll do it !" He 
followed up this remarkable declaration, by shaking 
his head in a waggish manner for ten minutes, as 
though he were remonstrating with himself for be 
ing such a pleasant dog ; and then he took a view 
of his legs in profile, with much seeming pleasure 
and interest. 

He was still placidly engaged in this latter survey, 
when Mrs. Corney, hurrying into the room, threw her 
self, in a breathless state, on a chair by the fireside, 
and covering her eyes with one hand, placed the oth 
er over her heart, and gasped for breath. 

" Mrs. Comey," said Mr. Bumble, stooping over the 
matron, " what is this, ma'am ? Has any thing hap 
pened, ma'am? Pray answer me. I'm on on 
Mr. Bumble, in his alarm, could not immediately 
think of the word " tenter-hooks," so he said " broken 
bottles." 

" Oh, Mr. Bumble !" cried the lady, " I have been 
so dreadfully put out !" 

" Put out, ma'am !" exclaimed Mr. Bumble ; " who 
has dared to ? I know !" said Mr. Bumble, check 
ing himself, with native majesty, " this is them wi- 
cious paupers !" 

"It's dreadful to think of!" said the lady, shud 
dering. 

"Then don't think of it, ma'am," rejoined Mr. 
Bumble. 

" I can't help it," whimpered the lady. 

" Then take something, ma'am," said Mr. Bumble, 
soothingly. " A little of the wine ?" 

"Not for the world!" replied Mrs. Corney. "I 
couldn't oh ! The top shelf in the right-hand cor 
ner oh!" Uttering these words, the good lady 
pointed, distractedly, to the cupboard, and under 
went a convulsion from internal spasms. Mr. Bum 
ble rushed to the closet ; and, snatching a pint green- 
glass bottle from the shelf thus incoherently indi 
cated, filled a tea-cup with its contents, and held it 
to the lady's lips. 

" I'm better now," said Mrs. Corney, falling back, 
after drinking half of it. 

Mr. Bumble raised his eyes piously to the ceiling 
in thankfulness ; and, bringing them down again to 
the brim of the cup, lifted it to his nose. 

" Peppermint," exclaimed Mrs. Corney, in a faint 
voice, smiling gently on the beadle as she spoke. 
"Try it! There's a little a little something else 
in it." 

Mr. Bumble tasted the medicine w^ith a doubtful 
look ; smacked his lips ; took another taste ; and put 
the cup down empty. 

" It's very comforting," said Mrs. Corney. 

"Very much so, indeed, ma'am," said the beadle. 
As he spoke, he drew a chair beside the matron, and 
tenderly inquired what had happened to distress her. 

" Notliing," replied Mrs. Corney. " I am a foolish, 
excitable, weak creetur." 

" Not weak, ma'am," retorted Mr. Bumble, drawing 
his chair a little closer. "Are you a weak creetur, 
Mrs. Corney ?" 

"We are all weak creeturs," said Mrs. Corney, lay 
ing down a general principle. 



86 



OLIVER TWIST. 



" So we are," said the beadle. 

Nothing was said, on either side, for a minute or 
two afterward. By the expiration of that time, Mr. 
Bumble had illustrated the position by removing his 
left arm from the back of Mrs. Corney's chair, where 
it had previously rested, to Mrs. Corney's apron- 
string, round which it gradually became entwined. 

"We are all weak creeturs," said Mr. Bumble. 

Mrs. Corney sighed. 

" Don't sigh, Mrs. Corney," said Mr. Bumble. 

" I can't help it," said Mrs. Coriiey. And she sigh 
ed again. 

" This is a very comfortable room, ma'am," said 



"And candles," replied Mrs. Corney, slightly re 
turning the pressure. 

"Coals, candles, and house -rent free," said Mr. 
Bumble. " Oh, Mrs. Corney, what a angel you are !" 

The lady was not proof against this burst of feel 
ing. She sank into Mr. Bumble's arms ; and that 
gentleman, in his agitation, imprinted a passionate 
kiss upon her chaste nose. 

" Such porochial perfection !" exclaimed Mr. Bum 
ble, rapturously. " You know that Mr. Slout is worse 
to-night, my fascinator ?" 

" Yes," replied Mrs. Coruey, bashfully. 

" He can't live a week, the doctor says," pursued 




" 'DON'T SIGH, MBS. OOKNEY,' SAID MR. BUMBLE." 



Mr. Bumble, looking round. "Another room, and 
this, ma'am, would be a complete thing." 

" It would be too much for one," murmured the lady. 

" But not for two, ma'am," rejoined Mr. Bumble, in 
soft accents. " Eh, Mrs. Corney ?" 

Mrs. Corney drooped her head when the beadle 
said this ; the beadle drooped his, to get a view of 
Mrs. Corney's face. Mrs. Coruey, with great propri 
ety, turned her head away, and released her hand to 
get at her pocket-handkerchief; but insensibly re 
placed it in that of Mr. Bumble. 

" The board allow you coals, don't they, Mrs. Cor 
ney ?" inquired the beadle, affectionately pressing her 
hand. 



Mr. Bumble. "He is the master of this establish 
ment ; his death will cause a wacancy : that wacan- 
cy must be filled up. Oh, Mrs. Corney, what a pros 
pect this opens ! What a opportunity for a jiniug of 
hearts and housekeepings !" 

Mrs. Corney sobbed. 

" The little word f ' said Mr. Bumble, bending over 
the bashful beauty. " The one little, little, little 
word, my blessed Corney ?" 

" Ye ye yes !" sighed out the matron. 

" One more," pursued the beadle ; " compose your 
darling feelings for only one more. When is it to 
come off?" 

Mrs. Corney twice essayed to speak, and twice fail- 



MR. CLAY POLE AXD THE OYSTERS. 



87 



ed. At length summoning up courage, she threw 
her arms roimcl Mr. Bumble's neck, and said it might 
be as soon as ever he pleased, and that he was a 
irresistible duck." 

Matters being thus amicably and satisfactorily ar 
ranged, the contract was solemnly ratified in anoth 
er tea-cupful of the peppermint mixture ; which was 
rendered the more necessary by the flutter and agi 
tation of the lady's spirits. While it was being dis 
posed of, she acquainted Mr. Bumble with the old 
woman's decease. 

" Very good," said that gentleman, sipping his pep 
permint ; " I'll call at Sowerberry's as I go home, and 
tell him to send to-morrow morning. Was it that 
as frightened yon, love ?'' 

" It wasn't any thing particular, dear," said the 
lady, evasively. 

" It must have been something, love," urged Mr. 
Bumble. " Won't you tell your own B. ?" 

" Not now," rejoined the lady ; " one of these days. 
After we're married, dear." 

"After we're married!" exclaimed Mr. Bumble. 
" It wasn't any impudence from any of them male 
paupers as : 

" No, no, love !" interposed the lady, hastily. 

" If I thought it was," continued Mr. Bumble ; " if 
I thought as any one of 'em had dared to lift his wul- 
gar eyes to that lovely countenance : 

" They wouldn't have dared to do it, love," re 
sponded the lady. 

" They had better not !" said Mr. Bumble, clenching 
his list. " Let me see any man, porochial or extra- 
porochial, as would presume to do it ; and I can tell 
lihn that he wouldn't do it a second time !" 

Unembellished by any violence of gesticulation, 
this might have seemed no very high compliment to 
the lady's charms ; but, as Mr. Bumble accompanied 
the threat with many warlike gestures, she was much 
touched with this proof of his devotion, and pro 
tested, with great admiration, that he was indeed a 
dove. 

The dove then turned up his coat-collar, and put 
on his cocked hat ; and, having exchanged a long 
and affectionate embrace with his future partner, 
once again braved the cold wind of the night, mere 
ly pausing, for a few minutes, in the male paupers' 
ward, to abuse them a little, with the view of satis- 
lying himself that he could fill the office of work 
house master with needful acerbity. Assured of his 
qualifications, Mr. Bumble left the building with a 
light heart, and bright visions of his future promo 
tion, which served to occupy his mind until he reach 
ed the shop of the undertaker. 

Now Mr. and Mrs. Sowerberry having gone out to 
tea and supper, and Noah Claypole not being at any 
time disposed to take upon himself a greater amount 
of physical exertion than is necessary to a conven 
ient performance of the two functions of eating and 
drinking, the shop was not closed, although it was 
past the usual hour of shutting up. Mr. Bumble 
tapped with his cane on the counter several times ; 
but, attracting no attention, and beholding a light 
shining through the glass-window of the little par 
lor at the back of the shop, he made bold to peep in 
and see what was going forward ; and when he saw 
what u-as going forward, he was not a little surprised. 



The cloth was laid for supper ; the table was cov 
ered with bread-and-butter, plates and glasses, a por 
ter-pot, and a wine-bottle. At the upper end of 
the table Mr. Noah Claypole lolled negligently in an 
easy-chair, with his legs thrown over one of the 
arms, an open clasp-knife in one hand, and a mass of 
buttered bread in the other. Close beside him stood 
Charlotte, opening oysters from a barrel, which Mr. 
Claypole condescended to swallow with remarkable 
avidity. A more than ordinary redness in the re 
gion of the young gentleman's nose, and a kind of 
fixed wink in his right eye, denoted that he was in a 
slight degree intoxicated ; these symptoms were con 
firmed by the intense relish with which he took his 
oysters, for which nothing but a strong appreciation 
of their cooling properties, in cases of internal fever, 
could have sufficiently accounted. 

" Here's a delicious fat one, Noah, dear !" said Char 
lotte ; " try him, do ; only this one." 

"What a delicious thing is a oyster !" remarked 
Mr. Claypole, after he had swallowed it. "What a 
pity it is, a number of 'em should ever make you feel 
uncomfortable ; isn't it, Charlotte f ' 

" It's quite a cruelty," said Charlotte. 

"So it is," acquiesced Mr. Claypole. "A'n't yer 
fond of oysters ?" 

" Not overmuch," replied Charlotte. " I like to 
see you eat 'em, Noah dear, better than eating 'em 
myself." 

" Lor* !" said Noah, reflectively ; " how queer !" 

" Have another," said Charlotte. " Here's one with 
such a beautiful, delicate beard !" 

" I can't manage any more," said Noah. " I'm very 
sorry. Come here, Charlotte, and I'll kiss yer." 

"What!" said Mr. Bumble, bursting into the room. 
" Say that again, sir." 

Charlotte uttered a scream, and hid her face in her 
apron. Mr. Claypole, without making any further 
change in his position than suffering his legs to 
reach the ground, gazed at the beadle in drunken 
terror. 

" Say it again, you wile, owdacious fellow !" said 
Mr. Bumble. " How dare you mention such a thing, 
sir ? And how dare you encourage him, you insolent 
minx ? Kiss her!" exclaimed Mr. Bumble, in strong 
indignation. " Faugh !" 

" I didn't mean to do it !" said Noah, blubbering. 
" She's always a-kissiug of me, whether I like it or 
not," 

" Oh, Noah !" cried Charlotte, reproachfully. 

" Yer are ; yer know yer are !" retorted Noah. 
" She's always a-doing of it, Mr. Bumble, sir ; she 
chucks me under the chin, please, sir ; and makes all 
manner of love !" 

" Silence !" cried Mr. Bumble sternly. " Take your 
self down stairs, ma'am. Noah, you shut up the 
shop ; say another word till your master comes home 
at your peril ; and, when he does come home, tell 
him that Mr. Bumble said he was to send a old wom 
an's shell after breakfast to-morrow morning. Do 
you hear, sir ? Kissing !" cried Mr. Bumble, holding 
up his hands. " The sin and wickedness of the low 
er orders in this porochial district is frightful ! If 
Parliament don't take their abominable courses un 
der consideration, this country's ruined, and the char 
acter of the peasantry gone forever!" With these 



88 



OLIVER TWIST. 



words, the beadle strode, \vith a lofty and gloomy 
air, from the undertaker's premises. 

And now that we have accompanied him so far on 
his road home, and have made all necessary prepara 
tions for the old woman's funeral, let us set on foot 
a few inquiries after young Oliver Twist, and ascer 
tain whether he be still lying in the ditch where 
Toby Crackit left him. 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 

LOOKS AFTER OLIVER, AND PROCEEDS WITH HIS ADVEN 
TURES. 

" YT7OLVES tear your throats !" muttered Sikes, 

T V grinding his teeth. "I wish I was among 
some of you ; you'd howl the hoarser for it." 

As Sikes growled forth this imprecation, with the 
most desperate ferocity that his desperate nature 
was capable of, he rested the body of the wounded 
boy across his bended knee, and turned his head, for 
an instant, to look back at his pursuers. 

There was little to be made out, in the mist and 
darkness; but the loud shouting of men vibrated 
through the air, and the barking of the neighboring 
dogs, roused by the sound of the alarm-bell, resound 
ed in every direction. 

" Stop, you white-livered hound !" cried the robber, 
shouting after Toby Crackit, who, making the best 
use of his long legs, was already ahead. " Stop !" 

The repetition of the word brought Toby to a dead 
stand-still. For he was not quite satisfied that he 
was beyond the range of pistol-shot ; and Sikes was 
in no mood to be played with. 

" Bear a hand with the boy," cried Sikes, beckon 
ing furiously to his confederate. " Come back !" 

Toby made a show of returning ; but ventured, in 
a low voice, broken for want of breath, to intimate 
considerable reluctance as he came slowly along. 

" Quicker !" cried Sikes, laying the boy in a dry 
ditch at his feet, and drawing the pistol from his 
pocket. " Don't play booty with me !" 

At this moment the noise grew louder. Sikes, 
again looking round, could discern that the men who 
had given chase were already climbing the gate of 
the field in which he stood; and that a couple of 
dogs were some paces in advance of them. 

" It's all up, Bill !" cried Toby ; " drop the kid, and 
show 'em your heels." With this parting advice, 
Mr. Crackit, preferring the chance of being shot by 
his friend to the certainty of being taken by his ene 
mies, fairly turned tail, and darted off at full speed. 
Sikes clenched his teeth; took one look around; 
threw over the prostrate form of Oliver the cape in 
which he had been hurriedly muffled ; ran along the 
front of the hedge, as if to distract the attention of 
those behind from the spot where the boy lay : 
paused for a second before another hedge which met 
it at right angles ; and, whirling his pistol high into 
the air, cleared it at a bound, and was gone. 

" Ho, ho, there !" cried a tremulous voice in the 
rear. " Pincher ! Neptune ! Come here, come here !" 

The dogs, who, in common with their masters, 
seemed to have no particular relish for the sport in 
which they were engaged, readily answered to the 



command. Three men, who had by this time ad 
vanced some distance into the field, stopped to take 
counsel together. 

" My advice, or, leastways, I should say, my orders, 
is," said the fattest man of the party, " that we 'me 
diately go home again." 

" I am agreeable to any thing which is agreeable 
to Mr. Giles," said a shorter man ; who was by no 
means of a> slirn figure, and who was very pale in the 
face, and very polite ; as frightened men frequently 
are. 

" I shouldn't wish to appear ill-mannered, gentle 
men," said the third, who had called the dogs back ; 
" Mr. Giles ought to know." 

" Certainly," replied the shorter man ; " and what 
ever Mr. Giles says, it isn't our place to contradict 
him. No, no, I know my sitiwation ! Thank my 
stars, I know my sitiwation." To tell the truth, the 
little man did seem to know his situation, and to 
know perfectly well that it was by no means a de 
sirable one ; for his teeth chattered in his head as he 
spoke. 

' You are afraid, Brittles," said Mr. Giles. 

< I a'n't," said Brittles. 

' You are," said Giles. 

' You're a falsehood, Mr. Giles," said Brittles. 

' You're a lie, Brittles," said Mr. Giles. 

Now these four retorts arose from Mr. Giles's taunt ; 
and Mr. Giles's taunt had arisen from his indignation 
at having the responsibility of going home again 
imposed upon himself under cover of a compliment. 
The third man brought the dispute to a close, most 
philosophic ally. 

"I'll tell you what it is, gentlemen," said he, 
" we're all afraid." 

" Speak for yourself, sir," said Mr. Giles, who Avns 
the palest of the party. 

" So I do," replied the man. " It's natural and 
proper to be afraid, under such circumstances. I 
am." 

" So am I," said Brittles ; " only there's no call to 
tell a man he is, so bounceably." 

These frank admissions softened Mr. Giles, who at 
once owned that lie was afraid; upon which they 
all three faced about, and ran back again with the 
completest unanimity, until Mr. Giles (who had the 
shortest wind of the party, and was encumbered 
with a pitchfork) most handsomely insisted on stop 
ping, to make an apology for his hastiness of speech. 

" But it's wonderful," said Mr. Giles, when he had 
explained, " what a man will do when his blood is 
up. I should have committed murder I know I 
should if we'd caught one of them rascals." 

As the other two were impressed with a similar 
presentiment ; and as their blood, like his, had all 
gone down again ; some specTilation ensued upon the 
cause of this sudden change in their temperament. 

" I know what it was," said Mr. Giles ; " it was the 
gate." 

" I shouldn't wonder if it was," exclaimed Brittles, 
catching at the idea. 

" You may depend upon it," said Giles, " that that 
gate stopped the flow of the excitement. I felt all 
mine suddenly going away as I was climbing over 
it." 

Bv a remarkable coincidence, the other two had 



OLI TEE'S HELPLESS CONDITION. 



been visited with the same unpleasant sensation at 
that precise moment. It was quite obvious, there 
fore, that it was the gate ; especially as there was no 
doubt regarding the time at which the change had 
taken place, because all three remembered that they 
had come in sight of the robbers at the instant of its 
occurrence. 

This dialogue was held between the two men who 
had surprised the burglars, and a traveling tinker 
who had been sleeping in an out-house, and who had 
been roused, together with his two mongrel curs, to 
join in the pursuit. Mr. Giles acted in the double 
capacity of butler and steward to the old lady of the 
mansion ; Brittles was a lad-of-all-work, who, hav 
ing entered her service a mere child, was treated as 
a promising young boy still, though he was some 
thing past thirty. 

Encouraging each other with such converse as 
this ; but, keeping very close together, notwithstand 
ing, and looking apprehensively round, whenever a 
fresh gust rattled through the boughs, the three 
men hurried back to a tree, behind which they had 
left their lantern, lest its light should inform the 
thieves in what direction to fire. Catching up the 
light, they made the best of their way home at a 
good round trot ; and long after their dusky forms 
had ceased to be discernible, the light might have 
been seen twinkling and dancing in the distance, 
like some exhalation of the damp and gloomy atmos 
phere through which it was swiftly borne. 

The air grew colder as day came slowly on ; and 
the mist rolled along the ground like a dense cloud 
of smoke. The grass was wet ; the pathways and 
low places were all mire and water; the damp 
breath of an unwholesome wind went languidly by, 
with a hollow moaning. Still, Oliver lay motionless 
and insensible on the spot where Sikes had left him. 

Morning drew on apace. The air became more 
sharp and piercing, as its first dull hue the death 
of night, rather than the birth of day glimmered 
faintly in the sky. The objects which had looked 
dim and terrible in the darkness grew more and 
more defined, and gradually resolved into their fa 
miliar shapes. The rain came down, thick and fast, 
and pattered noisily among the leafless bushes. But 
Oliver felt it not, as it beat against him; for he still 
lay stretched, helpless and unconscious, on his bed of 
clay. 

At length, a low cry of pain broke the stillness that 
prevailed.; and uttering it, the boy awoke. His left 
arm. rudely bandaged in a shawl, hung heavy and 
useless at his side : the bandage was saturated with 
blood. He was so weak, that he could scarcely raise 
himself into a sitting posture ; when he had done so, 
he looked feebly round for help, and groaned with 
pain. Trembling in every joint, from cold and ex 
haustion, he made an effort to stand upright ; but, 
shuddering from head to foot, fell prostrate on the 
ground. 

After a short return of the stupor in which he had 
so long plunged, Oliver, urged by a creeping 
sickness at his heart, which seemed to warn him 
tli at. if he lay there, he must surely die, got upon 
his feet, and essayed to walk. His head was dizzy, 
and lie staggered to and fro like a drunken man. 
But he kept up, nevertheless, and, with his head 



drooping languidly on his breast, went stumbling 
onward, he knew not whither. 

And now, hosts of bewildering and confused ideas 
canie crowding on his mind. He seemed to be still 
walking between Sikes and Crackit, who were an 
grily disputing for the very words they said sound 
ed in his ears ; and when he caught his own atten 
tion, as it were, by making some violent effort to 
save himself from falling, he found that he was talk 
ing to them. Then he was alone with Sikes, plod 
ding on as on the previous day; and as shadowy 
people passed them, he felt the robber's grasp upon 
his wrist. Suddenly, he started back at the report 
of fire-arms ; there rose into the air loud cries aud 
shouts ; lights gleamed before his eyes ; all was noise 
and tumult, and some unseen hand bore him hurried 
ly away. Through all these rapid visions, there ran 
an undefined, uneasy consciousness of pain, which 
wearied and tormented him incessantly. 

Thus he staggered on, creeping almost mechanic 
ally, between the bars of gates, or through hedge- 
gaps, as they came in his way, until he reached a 
road. Here the rain began to fall so heavily, that it 
roused him. 

He looked about, and saw that at no great distance 
there was a house, which perhaps he could reach. 
Pitying his condition, they might have compassion 
on him ; and if they did not, it would be better, he 
thought, to die near human beings than in the lone 
ly open fields. He summoned up all his strength for 
one last trial, and bent his faltering steps toward it. 

As he drew nearer to this house, a feeling came 
over him that he had seen it before. He remember 
ed nothing of its details ; but the shape aud aspect 
of the building seemed familiar to him. 

That garden wall ! On the grass inside, he had 
fallen on his knees last night, and prayed the two 
men's mercy. It was the very house they had at 
tempted to rob. 

Oliver felt such fear come over him when he rec 
ognized the place, that, for the instant, he forgot 
the agony of his wound, and thought only of flight. 
Flight! He could scarcely stand; and if he were in 
full possession of all the best powers of his slight and 
youthful frame, whither could he fly ? He pushed 
against the garden - gate ; it was unlocked, and 
swung open on its hinges. He tottered across the 
lawn ; climbed the steps ; knocked faintly at the 
door ; and, his whole strength failing him, sunk 
down against one of the pillars of the little portico. 

It happened that about this time, Mr. Giles, Brit- 
ties, and the tinker, were recruiting themselves, after 
the fatigues and terrors of the night, with tea and 
sundries, in the kitchen. Not that it was Mr. Giles's 
habit to admit to too great familiarity the humbler 
servants : toward whom it was rather his wont to 
deport himself with a lofty affability, which, while 
it gratified, could not fail to remind them of his su 
perior position in society. But death, fires, and bur 
glary, make all men equals ; so Mr. Giles sat with his 
legs stretched out before the kitchen fender, leaning 
his left arm on the table, while, with his right, he 
illustrated a circumstantial and minute account of 
the robbery, to which his hearers (but especially the 
cook and house-maid, who were of the party) listened 
with breathless interest. 



90 



OLIVER TWIST. 



" It was about half-past two," said Mr. Giles, " or 
I wouldn't swear that it mightn't have been a little 
nearer three, when I woke up, and, turning round in 
my bed, as it might be so (here Mr. Giles turned | 
round in his chair, and pulled the corner of the ta- j 
ble-cloth over him to imitate bed-clothes), I fancied 
I heerd a noise." 

At this point of the narrative the cook turned pale, 
and asked the house-maid to shut the door : who ask 
ed Brittles, who asked the tinker, who pretended not 
to hear. 

" Heerd a noise," continued Mr. Giles. " I says, 
at first, ' This is illusion ;' and was composing my 
self off to sleep, when I heerd the noise again, dis 
tinct." 

" What sort of a noise ?" asked the cook. 

"A kind of a busting noise," replied Mr. Giles, 
looking round him. 

" More like the noise of powdering a iron bar on a 
nutmeg-grater," suggested Brittles. 

" It was, when you heerd it, sir," rejoined Mr. Giles ; 
" but at this time it had a busting sound. I turned 
down the clothes," continued Giles, rolling back the 
table-cloth, " sat up in bed, and listened." 

The cook and house-maid simultaneously ejacu 
lated " Lor !" and drew their chairs closer together. 

"I heerd it now, quite apparent," resumed Mr. 
Giles. " ' Somebody,' I says, ' is forcing of. a door, or 
window ; what's to be done ? I'll call up that poor 
lad, Brittles, and save him from being murdered in 
his bed ; or his throat,' I says, ' may be cut from his 
right ear to his left, without his ever knowing it.' " 

Here all eyes were turned upon Brittles, who fixed 
his upon the speaker, and stared at him with his 
mouth wide open, and his face expressive of the most 
unmitigated horror. 

"I tossed off the clothes," said Giles, throwing 
away the table-cloth, and looking very hard at the 
cook and house-maid, " got softly out of bed, drew 
on a pair of " 

" Ladies present, Mr. Giles," murmured the tinker. 

" Of shoes, sir," said Giles, turning upon him, 
and laying great emphasis on the word ; " seized the 
loaded pistol that always goes up stairs with the 
plate-basket; and walked on tiptoes to his room. 
' Brittles,' I says, when I had woke him, ' don't be 
frightened !' " 

" So you did," observed Brittles, in a low voice. 

" ' We're dead men, I think, Brittles,' I says," con 
tinued Giles ; " ' but don't be frightened.' " 

" Was he frightened ?" asked the cook. 

" Not a bit of it," replied Mr. Giles. " He was as 
firm ah ! pretty near as firm as I was." 

" I should have died at once, I'm sure, if it had 
been me," observed the house-maid. 

" You're a woman," retorted Brittles, plucking up 
a little. 

" Brittles is right," said Mr. Giles, nodding his 
head, approvingly ; " from a woman nothing else 
was to be expected. We, being men, took a dark 
lantern that was standing on Brittles's hob, and 
groped our way down stairs in the pitch dark as 
might be so." 

Mr. Giles had risen from his seat, and taken two 
steps with his eyes shut, to accompany his descrip 
tion with appropriate action, when he started vio 



lently, in common with the rest of the company, and 
hurried back to his chair. The cook and house-maid 
screamed. 

" It was a knock," said Mr. Giles, assuming perfect 
serenity. " Open the door, somebody." 

Nobody moved. 

" It seems a strange sort of a thing, a knock com 
ing at such a time in the morning," said Mr. Giles, 
surveying the pale faces which surrounded him, and 
looking very blank himself; "but the door must be 
opened. Do you hear, somebody ?" 

Mr. Giles, as he spoke, looked at Brittles ; but that 
young man, being naturally modest, probably con 
sidered himself nobody, and so held that the inquiry 
could not have any application to him ; at all events, 
he tendered no reply. Mr. Giles directed an appeal 
ing glance at the tinker ; but he had suddenly fallen 
asleep. The women were out of the question. 

" If Brittles would rather open the door in the 
presence of witnesses," said Mr. Giles, after a short 
silence, " I am ready to make one." 

" So am I," said the tinker, waking up as suddenly 
as he had fallen asleep. 

Brittles capitulated on these terms ; and the par 
ty being somewhat reassured by the discovery (made 
on throwing open the shutters) that it was now 
broad day, took their way up stairs, with the dogs 
in front. The two women, who were afraid to stay 
below, brought up the rear. By the advice of Mr. 
Giles, they all talked very loud, to warn any evil- 
disposed person outside that they were strong in 
numbers; and by a master-stroke of policy, origi 
nating in the brain of the same ingenious gentle 
man, the dogs' tails were well pinched, in the hall, 
to make them bark savagely. 

These precautions having been taken, Mr. Giles 
held on fast by the tinker's arm (to prevent his run 
ning away, as he pleasantly said), and gave the word 
of command to open the door. Brittles obeyed ; the 
group, peeping timorously over each other's shoul 
ders, beheld no more formidable object than poor 
little Oliver Twist, speechless and exhausted, who 
raised his heavy eyes and mutely solicited their com 
passion. 

"A boy!" exclaimed Mr. Giles, valiantly pushing 
the tinker into the background. " What's the mat 
ter with the Eh ? Why Brittles look here 
don't you know ?" 

Brittles, who had got behind the door to open it, 
no sooner saw Oliver, than he uttered a loud cry. 
Mr. Giles, seizing the boy by one leg and one arm 
(fortunately not the broken limb) lugged him 
straight into the hall, and deposited him at full 
length on the floor thereof. 

" Here he is !" bawled Giles, calling, in a state of 
great excitement, up the staircase ; " here's one of 
the thieves, ma'am ! Here's a thief, miss ! Wound 
ed, miss ! I shot him, miss ; and Brittles held the 
light." 

" In a lantern, miss," cried Brittles, applying 
one hand to the side of his mouth, so that his voice 
might travel the better. 

The two women-servants ran up stairs to carry 
the intelligence that Mr. Giles had captured a rob 
ber; and the tinker busied himself in endeavoring 
to restore Oliver, lest he should die before he could 



THE DOCTOR AEEIVE8. 



91 



be banged. In the midst of all tins noise and com 
motion there was beard a sweet female voice, which 
quelled it in an instant. 

" Giles !" whispered the voice from the stairhead. 

"I'm here, miss," replied Mr. Giles. "Don't be 
frightened, miss ; I ain't much injured. He didn't 
make a very desperate resistance, miss! I was soon 
too many for him." 

"Hush!" replied the young lady; "you frighten 
my aunt as much as the thieves did. Is the poor 
creature much hurt f" 

" Wounded desperate, miss," replied Giles, with in 
describable complacency. 

" He looks as if he was a-going, miss," bawled 
Brittles, in the same manner as before. " Wouldn't 
you like to come and look at him, miss, in case he 
should ?" 

"Hush, pray; there's a good man!" rejoined the 
lady. " Wait quietly only one instant, while I speak 
to aunt." 

With a footstep as soft and gentle as the voice, 
the speaker tripped away. She soon returned, with 
the direction that the wounded person was to be 
carried carefully up stairs to Mr. Giles's room ; and 
that Brittles was to saddle the pony and betake him 
self instantly to Chertsey ; from which place he was 
to dispatch, with all speed, a constable and doctor. 

" But won't you take one look at him first, miss ?" 
asked Mr. Giles, with as much pride as if Oliver were 
some bird of rare plumage that he had skillfully 
brought down. " Not one little peep, miss ?" 

" Not now, for the world," replied the young lady. 
" Poor fellow ! Oh ! treat him kindly, Giles, for my 
sake !" 

The old servant looked up at the speaker, as she 
turned away, with a glance as proud and admiring 
as if she had been his own child. Then, bending 
over Oliver, he helped to carry him up stairs, with 
the care and solicitude of a woman. 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

HAS AX INTRODUCTORY ACCOUNT OF THE INMATES OF 
THE HOUSE TO WHICH OLIVER RESORTED. 

IN a handsome room, though its furniture had 
rather the air of old-fashioned comfort than of 
modern elegance, there sat two ladies at a well- 
spread breakfast-table. Mr. Giles, dressed with scru 
pulous care in a full suit of black, was in attendance 
upon them. He had taken his station some half-way 
between the sideboard and the breakfast-table ; and, 
with his body drawn up to its full height, his head 
thrown back, and inclined the merest trifle on one 
side, his left leg advanced, and his right hand thrust 
into his waistcoat, while his left hung down by his 
side, grasping a waiter, looked like one who labored 
under a very agreeable sense of his own merits and 
importance. 

Of the two ladies, one was well advanced in years ; 
but the high-backed oaken chair in which she sat 
was not more upright than she. Dressed with the 
utmost nicety and precision, in a quaint mixture of 
by -gone costume, with some slight concessions to 
the prevailing taste, which rather served to point 



the old style pleasantly than to impair its effect, she 
sat, in a stately manner, with her hands folded on 
the table before her. Her eyes (and age had dimmed 
but little of their brightness) were attentively fixed 
upon her young companion. 

The younger lady was in the lovely bloom and 
spring-time of womanhood; at that age when, if 
ever angels be for God's good purposes enthroned 
in mortal forms, they may be, without impiety, sup 
posed to abide in such as hers. 

She was not past seventeen. Cast in so slight 
and exquisite a mould ; so mild and gentle ; so pure 
and beautiful ; that earth seemed not her element, 
nor its rough creatures her fit companions. The 
very intelligence that shone in her deep blue eye, 
and was stamped upon her noble head, seemed scarce 
ly of her age, or of the world ; and yet the changing 
expression of sweetness and good-humor, the thou 
sand lights that played about the face, and left no 
shadow there ; above all, the smile, the cheerful, 
happy smile, were made for Home, and fireside peace 
and happiness. 

She was busily engaged in the little offices of the 
table. Chancing to raise her eyes as the elder lady 
was regarding her, she playfully put back her hair, 
which was simply braided on her forehead, and 
threw into her beaming look such an expression of 
affection and artless loveliness, that blessed spirits 
might have smiled to look upon her. 

" And Brittles has been gone upward of an hour, 
has he f" asked the old lady, after a pause. 

" An hour and twelve minutes, ma'am," replied Mr. 
Giles, referring to a silver watch, which he drew forth 
by a black ribbon. 

" He is always slow," remarked the old lady. 

" Brittles always was a slow boy, ma'am," replied 
the attendant. And seeing, by-the-bye, that Brittles 
had been a slow boy for upward of thirty years, there 
appeared no great probability of his ever being a 
fast one. 

" He gets worse instead of better, I think," said 
the elder lady. 

" It is very inexcusable in him if he stops to play 
with any other boys," said the young lady, smiling. 

Mr. Giles was apparently considering the proprie 
ty of indulging in a respectful smile himself, when a 
gig drove up to the garden-gate, out of which there 
jumped a fat gentleman, who ran straight up to the 
door ; and who, getting quickly into the house by 
some mysterious process, burst into the room, and 
nearly overturned Mr. Giles and the breakfast-table 
together. 

" I never heard of such a thing !" exclaimed the 
fat gentleman. " My dear Mrs. May lie bless my 
soul in the silence of night, too I never heard of 
such a thing !" 

With these expressions of condolence, the fat gen 
tleman shook hands with both ladies, and, drawing 
up a chair, inquired how they found themselves. 

" You ought to be dead, positively dead with the 
fright," said the fat gentleman. " Why didn't you 
send ? Bless me, my man should have come in a 
minute ; and so would I ; and my assistant would 
have been delighted ; or any body, I'm sure, under 
such circumstances. Dear, dear! So unexpected! 
In the silence of night, too !" 



OLIVER TWIST. 



The doctor seemed especially troubled by the fact 
of the robbery having been unexpected, and at 
tempted in the night-time ; as if it were the estab 
lished custom of gentlemen in the house-breaking 
way to transact business at noon, and to make an 
appointment, by post, a day or two previous. 

" And you, Miss Rose," said the doctor, turning to 
the young lady, " I " 

" Oh ! very much so, indeed," said Rose, interrupt 
ing him; "but there is a poor creature up stairs 
whom aunt wishes you to see." 

" Ah ! to be sure," replied the doctor, " so there is. 
That was your handiwork, Giles, I understand." 

Mr. Giles, who had been feverishly putting the 
tea-cups to rights, blushed very red, and said that 
he had had that honor. 

"Honor, eh?" said the doctor; "well, I don't 
know ; perhaps it's as honorable to hit a thief in a 
back kitchen as to hit your man at twelve paces. 
Fancy that he fired in the air, and you've fought a 
duel, Giles." 

Mr. Giles, who thought this light treatment of the 
matter an unjust attempt at diminishing his glory, 
answered respectfully, that it was not for the like 
of him to judge about that ; but he rather thought 
it was no joke to the opposite party. 

"Gad, that's true!" said the doctor. "Where is 
he? Show me the way. I'll look in again, as I 
come down, Mrs. Maylie. That's the little window 
that he got in at, eh ? Well, I couldn't have be 
lieved it !" 

Talking all the way, he followed Mr. Giles up 
stairs ; and while he is going up stairs, the reader 
may be informed that Mr. Losberne, a surgeon in 
the neighborhood, known through a circuit of ten 
miles round as " the doctor," had grown fat, more 
from good humor than from good living ; and was 
as kind and hearty, and withal as eccentric an old 
bachelor, as will be found in five times that space 
by any explorer alive. 

The doctor was absent much longer than either 
he or the ladies had anticipated. A large flat box 
was fetched out of the gig ; and a bedroom bell was 
rung very often ; and the servants ran up and down 
stairs perpetually ; from which tokens it was justly 
concluded that something important was going on 
above. At length he returned ; and in reply to an 
anxious inquiry after his patient, looked very mys 
terious, and closed the door carefully. 

" This is a very extraordinary thing, Mrs. Maylie," 
said the doctor, standing with- his back to the door, 
as if to keep it shut. 

" He is not in danger, I hope ?" said the old lady. 

"Why, that would not be an extraordinary thing, 
under the circumstances," replied the doctor; 
"though I don't think he is. Have you seen this 
thief?" 

" No," rejoined the old lady. 

" Nor heard any thing about him ?" 

"No." 

" I beg your pardon, ma'am," interposed Mr. Giles ; 
" but I was going to tell you about him when Doctor 
Losberne came in." 

The fact was, that Mr. Giles had not, at first, been 
able to bring his mind to the avowal that he had 
only shot a boy. Such commendations had been be 



stowed upon his bravery, that he could not, for the 
life of him, help postponing the explanation for a 
few delicious minutes ; during which he had flour 
ished in the very zenith of a brief reputation for un 
daunted courage. 

" Rose wished to see the man," said Mrs. Maylie, 
" but J wouldn't hear of it." 

"Humph !" rejoined the doctor. "There is noth 
ing very alarming in his appearance. Have you 
any objection to see him in my presence ?" 

" If it be necessary," replied the old lady, " cer 
tainly not." 

" Then I think it is necessary," said the doctor ; 
" at all events, I am quite sure that you would deep 
ly regret not having done so if you postponed it. 
He is perfectly quiet and comfortable now. Allow 
me Miss Rose, will you permit me ? Not the slight 
est fear, I pledge you my honor !" 



CHAPTER XXX. 

RELATES WHAT OLIVER'S NEW VISITORS THOUGHT OF 
HIM. 

WITH many loquacious assurances that they 
would be agreeably surprised in the aspect of 
the criminal, the doctor drew the young lady's arm 
through one of his; and offering his disengaged 
hand to Mrs. Maylie, led them, with much ceremony 
and stateliness, up stairs. 

" Now," said the doctor, in a whisper, as he softly 
turned the handle of the bedroom-door, " let us hear 
what you think of him. He has not been shaved 
very recently, but he don't look at all ferocious, not 
withstanding. Stop, though ! Let me first see that 
he is in visiting-order." 

Stepping before them, he looked into the room. 
Motioning them to advance, he closed the door when 
they had entered, and gently drew back the cur 
tains of the bed. Upon it, in lieu of the dogged, 
black-visaged ruffian they had expected to behold, 
there lay a mere child : worn with pain and exhaus 
tion, and sunk into a deep sleep. His wounded arm, 
bound and splintered up, was crossed iipou his breast ; 
his head reclined upon the oth,er arm, which was half 
hidden by his long hair, as it streamed over the pillow. 

The honest gentleman held the curtain in his 
hand, and looked on for a minute or so in silence. 
While he was watching the patient thus, the younger 
lady glided softly past, and seating herself in a chair 
by the bedside, gathered Oliver's hair from his face. 
As she stooped over him, her tears fell upon his fore 
head. 

The boy stirred, and smiled in his sleep, as though 
these marks of pity and compassion had awakened 
some pleasant dream of a love and affection he had 
never known. Thus, a strain of gentle music, or the 
rippling of water in a silent place, or the odor of a 
flower, or the mention of a familiar word, will some 
times call up sudden dim remembrances of scenes 
that never were, in this life ; which vanish like a 
breath ; which some brief memory of a happier ex 
istence, long gone by, would seem to have awakened ; 
which no voluntary exertion of the mind can ever 
recall. 



THE DOCTOR PRESCRIBES. 



93 



" What can this mean f ' exclaimed the elder lady. 
" This poor child can never have been the pupil of 
robbers !" 

" Vice," sighed the surgeon, replacing the curtain, 
" takes up her abode in many temples ; and who can 
say that a fair outside shall not enshrine her ?" 

" But at so early an age !" urged Rose. 

"My dear young lady," rejoined the surgeon, 
mournfully shaking his head ; " crime, like death, is 
not confined to the old and withered alone. The 
youngest and fairest are too often its chosen vic 
tims." 

" But can you oh ! can you really believe that 
this delicate boy has been the voluntary associate of 
the worst outcasts of society?" said Rose. 

The surgeon shook his head, in a manner which 
intimated that he feared it was very possible ; and 
observing that they might disturb the patient, led 
the way into an adjoining apartment. 

" But even if he has been wicked," pursued Rose, 
"think how young he is; think that he may never 
have known a mother's love, or the comfort of a 
home ; that ill-usage and blows, or the want of bread, 
may have driven him to herd with men who have 
forced him to guilt. Aunt, dear aunt, for mercy's 
sake, think of this, before you let them drag this 
sick child to a prison, which in any case must be the 
grave of all his chances of amendment. Oh ! as you 
love me, and know that I have never felt the want 
of parents in your goodness and affection, but that 
I might have done so, and might have been equally 
helpless and unprotected with this poor child, have 
pity upon him before it is too late !" 

" My dear love," said the elder lady, as she folded 
the weeping girl to her bosom, "do you think I 
would harm a hair of his head f 

" Oh, no !" replied Rose, eagerly. 

"No, surely," said the old lady; "my days are 
drawing to their close ; and may mercy be shown to 
me as I show it to others ! What can I do to save 
him, sir ?" 

" Let me think, ma'am," said the doctor ; " let me 
think." 

Mr. Losberne thrust his hands into his pockets, 
and took several turns up and down the room ; often 
stopping, and balancing himself on his toes, and 
frowning frightfully. After various exclamations 
of "I've got it now," and "no, I haven't," and as 
many renewals of the walking and frowning, he at 
length made a dead halt, and spoke as follows : 

" I think if you give me a full and unlimited com 
mission to bully Giles, and that little boy Brittles, I 
can manage it. Giles is a faithful fellow and an old 
servant, I know ; but you can make it up to him in 
a thousand ways, and reward him for being such a 
good shot besides. You don't object to that ?" 

" Unless there is some other way of preserving the 
child," replied Mrs. Maylie. 

" There is no other," said the doctor. " No other, 
take my word for it." 

" Then my aunt invests you with full power," said 
Rose, smiling through her tears ; " but pray don't be 
harder upon the poor fellows than is indispensably 
necessary. 7 ' 

" You seem to think," retorted the doctor, " that 
every body is disposed to be hard-hearted to-day, ex 



cept yourself, Miss Rose. I only hope, for the sake 
of the rising male sex generally, that you may be 
found in as vulnerable and soft-hearted a mood by 
the first eligible young fellow who appeals to your 
compassion ; and I wish I were a young fellow, that 
I might avail myself on the spot of such a favora 
ble opportunity for doing so as the present." 

" You are as great a boy as poor Brittles himself," 
returned Rose, blushing. 

" Well," said the doctor, laughing heartily, " that 
is no very difficult matter. But to return to this 
boy. The great point of our agreement is yet to 
come. He will wake in an hour or so, I dare say ; 
and although I have told that thick-headed consta 
ble fellow down stairs that he mustn't be moved or 
spoken to, on peril of his life, I think we may con 
verse with him without danger. Now I make this 
stipulation that I shall examine him in your pres 
ence, and that if, from what he says, we judge, and I 
can show to the satisfaction of your cool reason, that 
he is a real and thorough bad one (which is more 
than possible), he shall be left to his fate, without 
any further interference on my part, at all events." 

" Oh no, aunt !" entreated Rose. 

" Oh yes, aunt !" said the doctor. " Is it a bar 
gain!" 

" He can not be hardened in vice," said Rose. " It 
is impossible." 

" Very good," retorted the doctor ; " then so much 
the more reason for acceding to my proposition." 

Finally the treaty was entered into ; and the par 
ties thereunto sat down to wait, with some impa 
tience, until Oliver should awake. 

The patience of the two ladies was destined to un 
dergo a longer trial than Mr. Losberne had led them 
to expect ; for hour after hour passed on, and still 
Oliver slumbered heavily. It was evening, indeed, 
before the kind-hearted doctor brought them the in 
telligence that he was at length sufficiently restored 
to be spoken to. The boy was very ill, he said, and 
weak from the loss of blood ; but his mind was so 
troubled with anxiety to disclose something, that he 
deemed it better to give him the opportunity, than 
to insist upon his remaining quiet until next morn 
ing, which he should otherwise have done. 

The conference was a long one. Oliver told them 
all his simple history, and was often compelled to 
stop, by pain and want of strength. It was a sol 
emn thing to hear, in the darkened room, the feeble 
voice of the sick child recounting a weary catalogue 
of evils and calamities which hard men had brought 
upon him. Oh ! if when we oppress and grind our 
fellow-creatures, we bestowed but one thought on 
the dark evidences of human error, which, like dense 
and heavy clouds, are rising, slowly, it is true, but 
not less surely, to Heaven, to pour their after-ven 
geance on our heads ; if we heard but one instant, 
in imagination, the deep testimony of dead men's 
voices, which no power can stifle, and no pride shut 
out ; where would be the injury and injustice, the 
suffering, misery, cruelty, and wrong, that each day's 
life brings with it ! 

Oliver's pillow was smoothed by gentle hands that 
night; and loveliness and virtue watched him ;is In- 
slept. He felt calm and happy, and could have died 
without a murmur. 



94 



OLIVER TWIST. 



The momentous interview was no sooner concluded, 
and Oliver composed to rest again, than the doctor, 
after wiping his eyes, and condemning them for be 
ing weak all at once, betook himself down stairs to 
open upon Mr. Giles. And finding nobody about 
the parlors, it occurred to him that he could perhaps 
originate the proceedings with better effect in the 
kitchen ; so into the kitchen he went. 

There were assembled, in that lower house of the 
domestic Parliament, the women-servants, Mr. Brit- 
ties, Mr. Giles, the tinker (who had received a special 
invitation to regale himself for the remainder of the 
day, in consideration of his services), and the consta 
ble. The latter gentleman had a large staff, a large 
head, large features, and large half-boots ; and he 
looked as if he had been taking a proportionate al 
lowance of ale as indeed he had. 

The adventures of the previous night were still 
under discussion ; for Mr. Giles was expatiating upon 
his presence of iniud, when the doctor entered ; Mr. 
Brittles, with a mug of ale in his hand, was corrob 
orating every thing, before his superior said it. 

" Sit still !" said the doctor, waving his hand. 

" Thank you, sir," said Mr. Giles. " Misses wished 
some ale to be given out, sir ; and as I felt no ways 
inclined for my own little room, sir, and was disposed 
for company, I am taking mine among 'em here." 

Brittles headed a low murmur, by which the la 
dies and gentlemen generally were understood to ex 
press the gratification they derived from Mr. Giles's 
condescension. Mr. Giles looked round with a pat 
ronizing air, as much as to say that, so long as they 
behaved properly, he would never desert them. 

" How is the patient to-night, sir ?" asked Giles. 

" So-so ;" returned the doctor. " I am afraid you 
have got yourself into a scrape there, Mr. Giles." 

" I hope you don't mean to say, sir," said Mr. 
Giles, trembling, "that he's going to die. If I 
thought it, I should never be happy again. I wouldn't 
cut a boy off no, not even Brittles here not for all 
the plate in the county, sir." 

" That's not the point," said the doctor, mysterious 
ly. " Mr. Giles, are you a Protestant f ' 

" Yes, sir, I hope so," faltered Mr. Giles, who had 
turned very pale. 

"And what are you, boy?" said the doctor, turning 
sharply upon Brittles. 

" Lord bless me, sir !" replied Brittles, starting vio 
lently ; " I'm the same as Mr. Giles, sir." 

"Then tell me this," said the doctor, "both of 
you, both of yon ! Are you going to take upon your 
selves to swear that that boy up stairs is the boy 
that was put through the little window last night ? 
Out with it ! Come ! We are prepared for you !" 

The doctor, who was universally considered one 
of the best-tempered creatures on earth, made this 
demand in such a dreadful tone of anger, that Giles 
and Brittles, who were considerably muddled by ale 
and excitement, stared at each other in a state of 
stupefaction. 

" Pay attention to the reply, constable, will you ?" 
said the doctor, shaking his forefinger with great 
solemnity of manner, and tapping the bridge of his 
nose with it, to bespeak the exercise of that worthy's 
utmost acuteness. " Something may come of this 
before long." 



The constable looked as wise as he could, and took 
up his staff of office, which had been reclining indo 
lently in the chimney-corner. 

" It's a simple question of identity, you will ob 
serve," said the doctor. 

"That's what it is, sir," replied the constable, 
coughing with great violence; for he had finished 
his ale in a hurry, and some of it had gone the wrong 
way. 

" Here's a house broken into," said the doctor, 
".and a couple of men catch one moment's glimpse 
of a boy, in the midst of gunpowder-smoke, and in 
all the distraction of alarm and darkness. Here's a 
boy comes to that very same house next morning, 
and because he happens to have his arm tied up, 
these men lay violent hands upon him by doing 
which, they place his life in great danger and 
s\.'ear he is the thief. Now the question is, whether 
these men are justified by the fact ; if not, in what 
situation do they place themselves ?" 

The constable nodded profoundly. He said, if 
that wasn't law, he would be glad to know what 
was. 

" I ask you again," thundered the doctor, " are 
you, on your solemn oaths, able to identify that 
boy ?" 

Brittles looked doubtfully at Mr. Giles ; Mr. Giles 
looked doubtfully at Brittles; the constable put his 
hand behind his ear to catch the reply ; the two 
women and the tinker leaned forward to listen ; the 
doctor glanced keenly round ; when a ring was heard 
at the gate, and at the same moment the sound of 
wheels. 

" It's the runners !" cried Brittles, to all appearance 
much relieved. 

" The what ?" exclaimed the doctor, aghast, in his 
turn. 

"The Bow Street officers, sir," replied Brittles, 
taking up a candle ; " me and Mr. Giles sent for 'em 
this morning." 

" What ?" cried the doctor. 

"Yes," replied Brittles; "I sent a message up by 
the coachman, and I only wonder they weren't here 
before, sir." 

" You did, did you ? Then confound your slow 
coaches down here ; that's all," said the doctor, walk 
ing away. 



CHAPTER XXXI. 

INVOLVES A CRITICAL POSITION. 

" TTTHO'S that ?" inquired Brittles, opening the 

V V door a little way w r ith the chain up, and peep 
ing out, shading the candle with his hand. 

" Open the door," replied a man outside ; " it's the 
officers from Bow Street as was sent to to-day." 

Much comforted by this assurance, Brittles opeued 
the door to its full width and confronted a portly 
man in a great-coat, who walked in without saying 
any thing more, and wiped his shoes on the mat as 
coolly as if he lived there. 

" Just send somebody out to relieve my mate, will 
you, young man ?" said the officer ; " he's in the gig, 
a-miiiding the prad. Have you got a coach-'us here 
that you could put it up in for five or ten minutes f ' 



TUE BOW STREET OFFICERS. 



95 



Brittles replying in the affirmative, and pointing 
out the building, the portly man stepped back to the 
garden-gate and helped his companion to put up the 
gig, while Brittles lighted them, in a state of great 
admiration. This done, they returned to the house, 
and, being shown into a parlor, took off their great 
coats and hats, and showed like what they were. 

The man who had knocked at the door was a stout 
personage of middle height, aged about fifty, with 
shiny black hair cropped pretty close, half-whiskers, 
a round face, and sharp eyes. The other was a red 
headed, bony man in top-boots, with a rather ill-fa 
vored countenance, and a turned -up, sinister -look 
ing nose. 

" Tell your governor that Blathers and Duff Is here, 



several muscular affections of the limbs, and forced 
the head of his stick into his mouth, with some em 
barrassment. 

" Now, with regard to this here robbery, master," 
said Blathers. " What are the circumstances ?" 

Mr. Losberne, who appeared desirous of gaining 
time, recounted them at great length, and with much 
circumlocution. Messrs. Blathers and Duff looked 
very knowing meanwhile, and occasionally ex 
changed a nod. 

"I can't say for certain till I see the work, of 
course," said Blathers ; " but my opinion at once is 
I don't mind committing myself to that extent 
that this wasn't done by a yokel eh, Duff?" 

" Certainly not," replied Duff. 




"JUST SEMD SOMEBODY OUT TO BELIEVE MY MATE, WILL YOU, YOUNG MAS f '' 



will you?" said the stouter man, smoothing down 
hi.s hair, and laying a pair of handcuffs on the table. 
" Oh ! good-evening, master. Can I have a word or 
two with you in private, if you please ?" 

This was addressed to Mr. Losberne, who now 
made his appearance ; that gentleman, motioning 
Brittles to retire, brought in the two ladies and shut 
the, door. 

" This is the lady of the house," said Mr. Losberne, 
motioning toward Mrs. Maylie. 

Mr. Blathers made a bow. Being desired to sit 
down, he put his hat on the floor, and, taking a chair, 
motioned Duff to do the same. The latter gentle 
man, who did not appear quite so much accustomed 
to good society, or quite so much at his ease in it 
one of the two seated himself, after undergoing 



"And translating the word yokel for the benefit 
of the ladies, I apprehend your meaning to be, that 
this attempt was not made by a countryman ?" said 
Mr. Losberne, with a smile. 

" That's it, master," replied Blathers. " This is all 
about the robbery, is it ?" 

"All," replied the doctor. 

" Now, what is this about this here boy that the 
servants are a-talking on ?" said Blathers. 

" Nothing at all," replied the doctor. " One of the 
frightened servants chose to take it into his head 
that he had something to do with this attempt to 
break into the house; but it's nonsense, sheer ab 
surdity." 

"Wery easy disposed of, if it is," remarked Duff. 

"What he says is quite correct," observed Blath- 



96 



OLIVER TWIST. 



ers, nodding his head in a confirmatory way, and 
playing carelessly with the handcuffs as if they were 
a pair of castanets. " Who is the boy ? What ac 
count does he give of himself ? Where did he come 
from? He didn't drop out of the clouds, did he, 
master ?" 

" Of course not," replied the doctor, with a nerv 
ous glance at the two ladies. " I know his whole 
history ; hut we can talk about that presently. You 
would like first to see the place where the thieves 
made their attempt, I suppose ?" 

"Certainly," rejoined Mr. Blathers. "We had 
better inspect the premises first, and examine the 
servants arterward. That's the usual way of doing 
business." 

Lights were then procured ; and Messrs. Blathers 
and Duff, attended by the native constable, Brittles, 
Giles, and every body else, in short, went into the lit- 
cle room at the end of the passage and looked out at 
the Avindow, and afterward went round by way of 
the lawn and looked in at the window; and after 
that, had a caudle handed out to inspect the shutter 
with ; and after that, a lantern to trace the footsteps 
with ; and after that, a pitchfork to poke the bushes 
with. This done, amidst the breathless interest of 
all beholders, they came in again; and Mr. Giles 
and Brittles were put through a melodramatic repre 
sentation of their share in the previous night's ad 
ventures, which they performed some six times over, 
contradicting each other in not more than one im 
portant respect the first time, and in not more than 
a dozen the last. This consummation being arrived 
at, Blathers and Duff cleared the room and held a 
long council together, compared with which, for se 
crecy and solemnity, a consultation of great doctors 
on the knottiest point in medicine would be mere 
child's play. 

Meanwhile, the doctor walked up and down the 
next room in a very uneasy state, and Mrs. Maylie 
and Rose looked on with anxious faces. 

" Upon my word," he said, making a halt after a 
great number of very rapid turns, " I hardly know 
what to do." 

" Surely," said Eose, " the poor child's story, faith 
fully repeated to these men, will be sufficient to ex 
onerate him." 

" I doubt it, my dear young lady," said the doctor, 
shaking his head. " I don't think it would exoner 
ate him, either with them or with legal functionaries 
of a higher grade. What is he, after all, they would 
say ? A runaway. Judged by mere worldly con 
siderations and probabilities, his story is a very 
doubtful one." 

" You believe it, surely ?" interrupted Rose. 

" / believe it, strange as it is ; and perhaps I may 
be an old fool for doing so," rejoined the doctor; 
" but I don't think it is exactly the tale for a prac 
ticed police officer, nevertheless." 

" Why not ?" demanded Rose. 

" Because, my pretty cross-examiner," replied the 
doctor, " because, viewed with their eyes, there are 
many ugly points about it ; he can only prove the 
parts that look ill, and none of those that look well. 
Confound the fellows, they will have the why and 
the wherefore, and will take nothing for granted. 
On his own showing, you see, he has been the com 



panion of thieves for some time past ; he has been 
carried to a police-office on a charge of picking a 
gentleman's pocket ; he has been taken away forci 
bly from that gentleman's house to a place which he 
can not describe or point out, and of the situation of 
which he has not the remotest idea. He is brought 
down to Chertsey by men who seem to have taken 
a violent fancy to him, whether he will or no, and is 
put through a window to rob a house; and then, 
just at the very moment when he is going to alarm 
the inmates, and so do the very thing that would set 
him all to rights, there rushes into the way a blun 
dering dog of a half-bred butler and shoots him ! As 
if on purpose to prevent his doing any good for him 
self! Don't you see all this ?" 

" I see it, of course," replied Rose, smiling at the 
doctor's impetuosity; "but still I do not see any 
thing in it to criminate the poor child." 

" No," replied the doctor ; " of course not ! Bless 
the bright eyes of your sex ! They never see, wheth 
er for good or bad, more than one side of any ques 
tion ; and that is always the one which first presents 
itself to them." 

Having given vent to this result of experience, the 
doctor put his hands into his pockets, and Avalkod up 
and down the room with even greater rapidity than 
before. 

" The more I think of it," said the doctor, " the 
more I see that it will occasion endless trouble and 
difficulty if we put these men in possession of the 
boy's real story. I am certain it will not be be 
lieved ; and even if they can do nothing to him in 
the end, still the dragging it forward, and giving 
publicity to all the doubts that will be cast upon it, 
must interfere materially with your benevolent plan 
of rescuing him from misery." 

"Oh! what is to be done?" cried Rose. "Dear, 
dear ! why did they send for these people ?" 

" Why, indeed !" exclaimed Mrs. Maylie. " I would 
not have had them here for the world." 

"All I know is," said Mr. Losbeme, at last sitting 
down with a kind of desperate calmness, " that we 
must try and carry it oif with a bold face. The ob 
ject is a good one, and that must be our excuse. 
The boy has strong symptoms of fever upon him, and 
is in no condition to be talked to any more ; that's 
one comfort. We must make the best of it ; and if 
bad be the best, it is no fault of ours. Come in !" 

" Well, master," said Blathers, entering the room, 
followed by his colleague, and making the door fast 
before he said any more. "This warn't a put-up 
thing." 

"And what the devil's a put-up thing?" demanded 
the doctor, impatiently. 

" We call it a put-up robbery, ladies," said Blath 
ers, turning to them, as if he pitied their ignorance, 
but had a contempt for the doctor's, " when the serv 
ants is in it." 

" Nobody suspected them in this case," said Mrs. 
Maylie. 

" Wery likely not, ma'am," replied Blathers ; " but 
they might have been in it, for all that." 

" More likely on that wery account," said Duff. 

" We find it was a town hand," said Blathers, con 
tinuing his report; "for the style of work is first- 
rate." 



SPYERS AND CHICKWEED. 



97 



" Wery pretty iudeed it is," remarked Daft', in an 
uuder-tone. 

' There was two of 'em in it," continued Blathers ; 
" and they had a boy with 'em ; that's plain from the 
size of the window. That's all to be said at present. 
We'll see this lad that you've got up stairs at once, 
if you please." 

" Perhaps they will take something to drink, first, 
Mrs. Maylie f ' said the doctor, his face brightening 
as if some new thought had occurred to him. 

" Oh ! to be sure !" exclaimed Rose, eagerly. " You 
shall have it immediately, if you will." 

" Why, thank you, miss !" said Blathers, drawing 
his coat-sleeve across his mouth; "it's dry work, 
this sort of duty. Any thing that's handy, miss; 
don't put yourself out of the way on our accounts." 

" What shall it be ?" asked the doctor, following 
the young lady to the sideboard. 

"A little drop of spirits, master, if it's all the 
same," replied Blathers. " It's a cold ride from Lon 
don, ma'am ; and I always find that spirits comes 
home warmer to the feelings." 

This interesting communication was addressed to 
Mrs. Maylie, who received it very graciously. While 
it was being conveyed to her, the doctor slipped out 
of the room. 

Ah!" said Mr. Blathers; not holding his wine 
glass by the stem, but grasping the bottom between 
the thumb and forefinger of his left hand, and plac 
ing it in front of his chest ; " I have seen a good 
many pieces of business like this in my time, ladies." 

" That crack down in the back lane at Edmonton, 
Blathers," said Mr. Duff, assisting his colleague's 
memory. 

" That was something in this way, warn't it ?" re 
joined Mr. Blathers; "that was done by Conkey 
duckweed, that was." 

" You always gave that to him," replied Duff. " It 
was the Family Pet, I tell you. Conkey hadn't any 
more to do with it than I had." 

" Get out !" retorted Mr. Blathers ; " I know better. 
Do you mind that time when Conkey was robbed of 
his money, though ? What a start that was ! Bet 
ter than any novel-book / ever see !" 

" What was that ?" inquired Rose : anxious to en 
courage any symptoms of good-humor in the unwel 
come visitors. 

" It was a robbery, miss, that hardly any body 
would have been down upon," said Blathers. " This 
here Conkey Chickweed " 

" Coukey means Nosey, ma'am," interposed Duff. 

" Of course the lady knows that, don't she ?" de 
manded Mr. Blathers. "Always interrupting, you 
are, partner ! This here Conkey Chickweed, miss, 
kept a public-house over Battlebridge way, and he 
had a cellar, where a good many young lords went 
to see cock-fighting, and badger-drawing, and that ; 
and a wery intellectual manner the sports was con 
ducted in, for I've seen 'em off'eu. He warn't one of 
the family at that time ; and one night he was rob- 
bed of three hundred and twenty-seven guineas in a 
canvas bag, that was stole out of his bedroom in the 
dead of night, by a tall man with a black patch over 
his eye, who had concealed himself under the bed, 
and after committing the robbery, jumped slap out 
of window, which was only a storv high. He was 
G 



wery quick about it. But Conkey was quick, too ; 
for he was woke by the noise, and darting out of 
bed, he fired a blunderbuss arter him, and roused the 
neighborhood. They set up a hue-aud-cry directly, 
and when they came to look about 'em, found that 
Conkey had hit the robber ; for there was traces of 
blood all the way to some palings a good distance 
off ; and there they lost 'em. However, he had made 
off with the blunt ; and, consequently, the name of 
Mr. Chickweed, licensed witler, appeared in the Ga 
zette among the other bankrupts ; and all manner of 
benefits and subscriptions, and I don't know what 
all, was got up for the poor man, who was in a wery 
low state of mind about his loss, and went up and 
down the streets, for three or four days, a pulling 
his hair off in such a desperate manner that many 
people was afraid he might be going to make away 
with himself. One day he come up to the office, all 
in a hurry, and had a private interview with the 
magistrate, who, after a deal of talk, rings the bell, 
and orders Jem Spyers in (Jem was a active officer), 
and tells him to go and assist Mr. Chickweed in ap 
prehending the man as robbed his house. 'I see 
him, Spyers,' said Chickweed, 'pass my house yes 
terday morning.' 'Why didn't you up, and collar 
him ?' says Spyers. ' I was so struck all of a heap, 
that you might have fractured my skull with a tooth 
pick,' says the poor man; 'but we're sure to have 
him ; for between ten and eleven o'clock at night he 
passed again.' Spyers no sooner heard this than he 
put some clean linen and a comb in his pocket, in 
case he should have to stop a day or two ; and away 
he goes, and sets himself down at one of the public- 
house windows behind the little red curtain, with 
his hat on, all ready to bolt out at a moment's no 
tice. He was smoking his pipe here, late at night, 
when all of a sudden Chickweed roars out ' Here he 
is! Stop thief ! Murder!' Jem Spyers dashes out ; 
and there he sees Chickweed, a -tearing down the 
street full cry. Away goes Spyers ; on goes Chick- 
weed ; round turns the people ; every body roars out, 
' Thieves !' and Chickweed himself keeps on shouting, 
all the time, like mad. Spyers loses sight of him a 
minute as he turns a corner ; shoots round ; sees a lit 
tle crowd ; dives in ; ' Which is the man ?' ' D me !' 
says Chickweed, ' I've lost him again !' It was a re 
markable occurrence, but he warn't to be seen no 
where, so they went back to the public-house. Next 
morning, Spyers took his old place, and looked out 
from behind the curtain for a tall man with a black 
patch over his eye, till his own two eyes ached again. 
At last he couldn't help shutting 'em, to ease 'em a 
minute ; and the very moment he did so, he hears 
Chickweed a-roaring out, ' Here he is !' Off he starts 
once more, with Chickweed half way down the street 
ahead of him ; and after twice as long a run as the 
yesterday's one, the man's lost again! This was 
done, once or twice more, till one-half the neighbors 
gave out that Mr. Chickweed had been robbed by 
the devil, who was playing tricks with him arter- 
ward ; and the other half, that poor Mr. Chickweed 
had gone mad with grief." 

" What did Jem Spyers say ?" inquired the doctor ; 
who had returned to the room shortly after the com 
mencement of the story. 

"Jem Spyers," resumed the officer, "for a long 



98 



OLIVER TWIST. 



time said nothing at all, and listened to every thing 
without seeming to, which showed he understood his 
business. But, one morning, he walked into the bar, 
and taking out his snuff-box, says, ' Chickweed, I've 
found out who done this here robbery.' ' Have you ?' 
said Chickweed. ' Oh, my dear Spyers, only let me 
have wengeauce, and I shall die contented ! Oh, my 
dear Spyers, where is the villain !' ' Come !' said Spy 
ers, offering him a pinch of snuff, ' none of that gam 
mon ! You did it yourself.' So he had ; and a good 
bit of money he had made by it, too ; and nobody 
would never have found it out, if he hadn't been so 
precious anxious to keep up appearances," said Mr. 
Blathers, putting down his wine-glass, and clinking 
the handcuffs together. 

" Very curious, indeed," observed the doctor. 
" Now, if you please, you can walk up stairs." 

" If you please, sir," returned Mr. Blathers. Close 
ly following Mr. Losberue, the two officers ascended 
to Oliver's bedroom ; Mr. Giles preceding the party 
with a lighted caudle. 

Oliver had been dozing ; but looked worse, and 
was more feverish than he had appeared yet. Being 
assisted by the doctor, he managed to sit up in bed 
for a minute or so ; and looked at the strangers with 
out at all understanding what was going forward 
in fact, without seeming to recollect where he was, 
or what had been passing. 

" This," said Mr. Losberne, speaking softly, but 
with great vehemence notwithstanding, " this is the 
lad, who, being accidentally wounded by a spring- 
gun in some boyish trespass on Mr. What-d'ye-call- 
him's grounds at the back here, comes to the house 
for assistance this morning, and is immediately laid 
hold of and maltreated by that ingenious gentleman 
with the candle in his hand, who has placed his life 
in considerable danger, as I can professionally cer 
tify." 

Messrs. Blathers and Duff looked at Mr. Giles, as he 
was thus recommended to their notice. The bewil 
dered butler gazed from them toward Oliver, and 
from Oliver toward Mr. Losberne, with a most ludi 
crous mixture of fear and perplexity. 

" You don't mean to deny that, I suppose ?" said 
the doctor, laying Oliver gently down again. 

" It was all done for the for the best, sir," an 
swered Giles. " I am sure I thought it was the boy, 
or I wouldn't have meddled with him. I am not of 
an inhuman disposition, sir." 

" Thought it was what boy ?" inquired the senior 
officer. 

"The house-breaker's boy, sir!" replied Giles. 
" They they certainly had a boy." 

" Well ? Do you think so now ?" inquired Blath- 
. ers. 

" Think what, now ?" replied Giles, looking vacant 
ly at his questioner. 

" Think it's the same boy, Stupid-head ?" rejoined 
Blathers, impatiently. 

'' 1 don't know ; I really don't know," said Giles, 
with a rueful countenance. '' I couldn't swear to 
him." 

" What do you think'?" asked Mr. Blathers. 

" I don't know what to think," replied poor Giles. 
" I don't think it is the boy ; indeed, I'm almost cer 
tain that it isn't. You know it can't be." 



" Has this man been a-drinkiug, sir ?" inquired 
Blathers, turning to the doctor. 

" What a precious muddle-headed chap you are !" 
said Duff, addressing Mr. Giles, with supreme con 
tempt. 

Mr. Losberne had been feeling the patient's pulse 
during this short dialogue ; but he now rose from the 
chair by the bedside, and remarked, that if the offi 
cers had any doubts upon the subject, they would 
perhaps like to step into the next room, and have 
Brittles before them. 

Acting upon this suggestion, they adjourned to a 
neighboring apartment, where Mr. Brittles, being 
called in, involved himself and his respected superior 
in such a wonderful maze of fresh contradictions and 
impossibilities as tended to throw no particular light 
on any thing but the fact of his own strong mysti 
fication; except, indeed, his declarations that he 
shouldn't know the real boy if he were put before 
him that instant ; that he had only taken Oliver to 
be he, because Mr. Giles had said he was ; and that 
Mr. Giles had, five minutes previously, admitted in 
the kitchen that he began to be very much afraid he 
had been a little too hasty. 

Among other ingenious surmises, the question was 
then raised, whether Mr. Giles had really hit any 
body ; and upon examination of the fellow pistol to 
that which he had fired, it turned out to have no 
more destructive loading than gunpowder and brown 
paper : a discovery which made a considerable im 
pression on every body but the doctor, who had drawn 
the ball about ten minutes before. Upon no one, how 
ever, did it make a greater impression than on Mr. 
Giles himself; who, after laboring, for some hours, 
under the fear of having mortally wounded a fellow- 
creature, eagerly caught at this new idea, and favored 
it to the utmost. Finally, the officers, without trou 
bling themselves very much about Oliver, left the 
Chertsey constable in the house, and took up their 
rest for that night in the town, promising to return 
next morning. 

With the next morning, there came a rumor that 
two men and a boy were in the cage at Kingston, 
who had been apprehended overnight under suspi 
cious circumstances ; and to Kingston Messrs. Blathers 
and Duff journeyed accordingly. The suspicious cir 
cumstances, however, resolving themselves, on inves 
tigation, into the one fact, that they had been dis 
covered sleeping under a hay-stack ; which, although 
a great crime, is only punishable by imprisonment, 
and is, in the merciful eye of the English law, and its 
comprehensive love of all the king's subjects, held to 
be no satisfactory proof, in the absence of all other 
evidence, that the sleeper, or sleepers, have committed 
burglary accompanied with violence, and have there 
fore rendered themselves liable to the punishment of 
death ; Messrs. Blathers and Duff came back again, 
as wise as they went. 

In short, after some more examination, and a great 
deal more conversation, a neighboring magistrate 
was readily induced to take the joint bail of Mrs. 
Maylie and Mr. Losberne for Oliver's appearance if 
he should ever be called upon ; and Blathers and 
Duff, being rewarded with a couple of guineas, re 
turned to town with divided opinions on the subject 
of their expedition : the latter gentleman, oil a ma- 



A FALSE ALARM. 



99 



ture consideration of all the circumstances, inclining 
to the belief that the burglarious attempt had origi 
nated with the Family Pet ; and the former being 
equally disposed to concede the full merit of it to the 
great Mr. Conkey Chickweed. 

Meanwhile, Oliver gradually throve and prospered 
under the united care of Mrs. Maylie, Rose, and the 
kind-hearted Mr. Losberue. If fervent prayers, gush 
ing from hearts overcharged with gratitude, be heard 
in heaven and if they be not, what prayers are ! 
the blessings which the orphan child called down 
upon them sunk into their souls, diffusing peace and 
happiness. 



CHAPTER XXXII. 

OF THE HAPPY LIFE OLIVER BEGAN TO LEAD WITH HIS 
KIND FRIENDS. 

OLIVER'S ailings were neither slight nor few. In 
addition to the pain and delay attendant on a 
broken limb, his exposure to the wet and cold had 
brought on fever and ague ; which hung about him 
for many weeks, and reduced him sadly. But at 
length he began, by slow degrees, to get better, and 
to be able to say, sometimes, in a few tearful words, 
how deeply he felt the goodness of the two sweet la 
dies, and how ardently he hoped that when he grew 
strong and well again, he could do something to 
show his gratitude : only something which would let 
them see the love and duty with which his breast 
was full ; something, however slight, which would 
prove to them that their gentle kindness had not 
been cast away ; but that the poor boy whom their 
charity had rescued from misery or death was eager 
to serve them with his whole heart and soul. 

" Poor fellow !" said Rose, when Oliver had been 
one day feebly endeavoring to utter the words of 
thankfulness that rose to his pale lips ; " you shall 
have many opportunities of serving us, if you will. 
We are going into the country, and my aunt intends 
that you shall accompany us. The quiet place, the 
pure air, and all the pleastires and beauties of spring, 
will restore you in a few days. We will employ you 
in a hundred ways, when you can bear the trouble." 

" The trouble !" cried Oliver. " Oh ! dear lady, if 
I could but work for you ; if I could only give you 
pleasure by watering your flowers, or watching your 
birds, or running up and down the whole day long, 
to make you happy ; what would I give to do it !" 

" You shall give nothing at all," said Miss Maylie, 
smiling ; " for, as I told yon before, we shall employ 
you in a hundred ways ; and if you only take half 
the trouble to please us that you promise now, you 
will make me very happy indeed." 

" Happy, ma'am !" cried Oliver ; " how kind of you 
to s;iy so!" 

" You will make me happier than I can tell you," 
replied the young lady. "To think that my dear 
good aunt should have been the means of rescuing 
any one from such sad misery as you have described 
to us, would be an unspeakable pleasure to me ; but 
to know that the object of her goodness and com 
passion was sincerely grateful and attached in con 
sequence, would delight me more than you can well 



imagine. Do you understand me ?" she inquired, 
watching Oliver's thoughtful face. 

"Oh yes, ma'am, yes !" replied Oliver, eagerly; "but 
I was thinking that I am ungrateful now." 

" To whom f ' inquired the young lady. 

" To the kind gentleman and the dear old nurse 
who took so much care of me before," rejoined Oli 
ver. " If they knew how happy I am, they would 
be pleased, I am sure." 

" I am sure they would," rejoined Oliver's bene 
factress; "and Mr. Losberne has already been kind 
enough to promise that when you are well enough 
to bear the journey, he will carry you to see them." 

" Has he, ma'am ?" cried Oliver, his face brighten 
ing with pleasure. " I don't know what I shall do 
for joy when I see their kind faces once again." 

In a short time Oliver was sufficiently recovered to 
undergo the fatigue of this expedition. One morn 
ing he and Mr. Losberne set out, accordingly, in a lit 
tle carriage which belonged to Mrs. Maylie. When 
they came to Chertsey Bridge, Oliver turned very 
pale, and uttered a loud exclamation. 

" What's the matter with the boy ?" cried the doc 
tor ; as usual, all in a bustle. " Do you see any thing 
hear any thing feel any thing eh ?" 

" That, sir," cried Oliver, pointing out of the car 
riage window. " That house !" 

" Yes ; well, what of it ? Stop, coachman. Pull 
up here," cried the doctor. " W T hat of the house, my 
man ; eh ?" 

" The thieves the house they took me to !" whis 
pered Oliver. 

"The devil it is!" cried the doctor. "Halloo, 
there ! let me out !" 

But, before the coachman could dismount from his 
box, he had tumbled out of the coach by some means 
or other ; and, running down to the deserted tene 
ment, began kicking at the door like a madman. 

"Halloo!" said a little ugly humpbacked man, 
opening the door so suddenly that the doctor, from 
the very impetus of his last kick, nearly fell forward 
into the passage. " What's the matter here ?" 

" Matter!" exclaimed the other, collaring him, with 
out a moment's reflection. "A good deal. Robbery 
is the matter." 

" There'll be murder the matter, too," replied the 
humpbacked man, coolly, "if you don't take your 
hands off. Do you hear me ?" 

" I hear you," said the doctor, giving his captive 
a hearty shake. "Where's confound the fellow, 
what's his rascally name ? Sikes ; that's it. Where's 
Sikes, you thief?" 

The humpbacked man stared, as if in excess of 
amazement and indignation ; then twisting himself 
dexterously from the doctor's grasp, growled forth a 
volley of horrid oaths, and retired into the house. 
Before he could shut the door, however, the doctor 
had passed into the parlor without a word of parley. 
He looked anxiously round ; not an article of furni 
ture ; not a vestige of any thing, animate or inani 
mate not even the position of the cupboards, an 
swered Oliver's description. 

" Now !" said the humpbacked man, who had watch 
ed him keenly, "what do you mean by coming into 
my house in this violent way ? Do you want to 
rob me, or to murder me ? Which is it ?" 



100 



OLIVER TWIST. 



" Did you ever know a man come out to do either 
in a chariot and pair, you ridiculous old vampire I" 
said the irritable doctor. 

" What do you want, then ?" demanded the hunch 
back. " Will you take yourself off before I do you 
a mischief ? Curse you!" 

"As soon as I think proper," said Mr. Losberne, 
looking into the other parlor ; which, like the first, 
bore no resemblance whatever to Oliver's account 
of it. " I shall find you out some day, my friend." 

" Will you ?" sneered the ill-favored cripple. " If 
you ever want me, I'm here. I haven't lived here 
mad and all alone for five-and-twenty years, to be 
scared by you. You shall pay for this; you shall 
pay for this." And so saying, the misshapen little 
demon set up a yell, and danced upon the ground as 
if wild with rage. 

" Stupid enough, this!" muttered the doctor to him 
self; "the boy must have made a mistake. Here! 
Put that in your pocket, and shut yourself up again." 
With these words he flung the hunchback a piece of 
money, and returned to the carriage. 

The man followed to the chariot door, uttering the 
wildest imprecations and curses all the way ; but as 
Mr. Losberne turned to speak to the driver, he looked 
into the carriage, and eyed Oliver for an instant with 
a glance so sharp and fierce, and at the same time so 
furious and vindictive, that, waking or sleeping, he 
could not forget it for months afterward. He con 
tinued to utter the most fearful imprecations, until 
the driver had resumed his seat ; and when they were 
once more on their way, they could see him some dis 
tance behind, beating his feet upon the ground and 
tearing his hair, in transports of real or pretended rage. 

" I am an ass !" said the doctor, after a long silence. 
" Did you know that before, Oliver ?" 

"No, sir." 

" Then don't forget it another tune." 

"An ass," said the doctor again, after a further si 
lence of some minutes. " Even if it had been the 
right place, and the right fellows had been there, 
what could I have done single-handed? And if I 
had had assistance, I see no good that I should have 
done, except leading to my own exposure, and an 
unavoidable statement of the manner in which I 
have hushed up this business. That would have 
served me right, though. I am always involving 
myself in some scrape or other by acting on impulse. 
It might have done me good." 

Now the fact was, that the excellent doctor had 
never acted upon any thing but impulse all through 
his life, and it was no bad compliment to the nature 
of the impulses which governed him, that, so far from 
being involved in any peculiar troubles or misfor 
tunes, he had the warmest respect and esteem of all 
who knew him. If the truth must be told, he was a 
little out of temper for a minute or two, at being 
disappointed in procuring corroborative evidence of 
Oliver's story, on the very first occasion on which he 
had a chance of obtaining any. He soon came round 
again, however ; and finding that Oliver's replies to 
his questions were still as straightforward and con 
sistent, and still delivered with as much apparent 
sincerity and truth as they had ever been, he made 
up his mind to attach full credence to them, from 
that tune forth. 



As Oliver knew the name of the street in which 
Mr. Browulow resided, they were enabled to drive 
straight thither. When the coach turned into it, his 
heart beat so violently that he could scarcely draw 
his breath. 

" Now, my boy, which house is it ?" inquired Mr. 
Losberne. 

"That! That!" replied Oliver, pointing eagerly 
out of the window. " The white house. Oh ! make 
haste ! Pray, make haste ! I feel as if I should die ; 
it makes me tremble so." 

" Come, come !" said the good doctor, patting him 
on the shoulder. " You will see them directly, and 
they will be overjoyed to find you safe and well." 

" Oh, I hope so !" cried Oliver. " They were so 
good to me ; so very, very good to me !" 

The coach rolled on. It stopped. No ; that was 
the wrong house ; the next door. It went on a few 
paces, and stopped again. Oliver looked up at the 
windows, with tears of happy expectation coursing 
dowu his face. 

Alas ! the white house was empty, and there was 
a bill in the window " To Let." 

" Knock at the next door," cried Mr. Losberne, tak 
ing Oliver's arm in his. "What has become of Mr. 
Brownlow, who used to live in the adjoining house, 
do you know ?" 

The servant did not know, but would go and in 
quire. She presently returned, and said that Mr. 
Browulow had sold off his goods and gone to the 
West Indies six weeks before. Oliver clasped his 
hands, and sank feebly backward. 

" Has his housekeeper gone, too ?" inquired Mr. 
Losberne, after a moment's pause. 

" Yes, sir," replied the servant. " The old gentle 
man, the housekeeper, and a gentleman who was a 
friend of Mr. Browulow's, all went together." 

" Then turn toward home again," said Mr. Los 
berne to the driver; "and don't stop to bait the 
horses till you get out of this confounded London !" 

" The book-stall keeper, sir ?" said Oliver. " I 
know the way there. See him, pray, sir ! Do see 
him!" 

" My poor boy, this is disappointment enough for 
one day," said the doctor. " Quite enough for both 
of us. If we go to the book-stall keeper's, we shall 
certainly find that he is dead, or has set his house on 
fire, or run away. No ; home again straight !" And 
in obedience to the doctor's impulse home they went. 

This bitter disappointment caused Oliver much 
sorrow and grief, even in the midst of his happiness ; 
for he had pleased himself, many times -during his 
illness, with thinking of all that Mr. Brownlow and 
Mrs. Bedwin would say to him, and what delight it 
would be to tell them how many long days and 
nights he had passed in reflecting on what they had 
done for him, and in bewailing his cmel separation 
from them. The hope of eventually clearing him 
self with them, too, and explaining how he had been 
forced away, had buoyed him up, and sustained him, 
under many of his recent trials ; and now, the idea 
that they should have gone so far, and carried with 
them the belief that he was an impostor and a rob 
ber a belief which might remain uncontradicted to 
his dying day was almost more than he could bear. 

The circumstance occasioned no alteration, how- 



THE BEAUTIES OF AN INLAND VILLAGE. 



101 



ever, in the behavior of his benefactors. After an 
other fortnight, -when the fine warm weather had 
fairly begun, and every tree and flower was putting 
forth its young leaves and rich blossoms, they made 
preparations for quitting the house at Chertsey for 
some months. Sending the plate, which had so ex 
cited Fagiu's cupidity, to the banker's ; and leaving 
Giles and another servant in care of the house, they 
departed to a cottage at some distance in the coun 
try, and took Oliver with them. 

Who can describe the pleasure and delight, the 
peace of mind and soft tranquillity, the sickly boy 
felt in the balmy air, and among the green hills and 
rich woods of an inland village ! Who can tell how 
scenes of peace and quietude sink into the minds 
of pain-worn dwellers in close and noisy places, 
and carry their own freshness deep into their jaded 
hearts ! Men who have lived in crowded, pent-up 
streets, through lives of toil, and who have never 
wished for change ; men, to whom custom has indeed 
been second nature, and who have come almost to 
love each brick and stone that formed tho narrow 
boundaries of their daily walks ; even they, with the 
hand of death upon them, have been known to yearn 
at last for one short glimpse of Nature's face ; and, 
carried far from the scenes of their old pains and 
pleasures, have seemed to pass at once into a new 
state of being. Crawling forth from day to day, to 
some green sunny spot, they have had such memories 
wakened up within them by the sight of sky, and 
hill and plain, and glistening water, that a foretaste 
of heaven itself has soothed their quick decline, and 
they have sunk into their tombs as peacefully as the 
sun, whose setting they watched from their lonely 
chamber window but a few hours before, faded from 
their dim and feeble sight! The memories which 
peaceful country scenes call up are not of this world, 
nor of its thoughts and hopes. Their gentle in 
fluence may teach us how to weave fresh garlands 
for the graves of those we loved may purify our 
thoughts, and bear down before it old enmity and 
hatred ; but beneath all this there lingers, in the 
least reflective mind, a vague and half-formed con 
sciousness of having held such feelings long before, 
in some remote and distant time, which calls up sol 
emn thoughts of distant times to come, and bends 
down pride and worldliness beneath it. 

It was a lovely spot to which they repaired. Oli 
ver, whose days had been spent among squalid crowds, 
and in the midst of noise and brawling, seemed to 
enter on a new existence there. The rose and hon 
eysuckle clung to the cottage walls; the ivy crept 
round the trunks of the trees ; and the garden-flow 
ers perfumed the air with delicious odors. Hard by 
was a little church-yard ; not crowded with tall un 
sightly grave-stones, but full of humble mounds, cov 
ered with fresh turf and moss : beneath which the 
old people of the village lay at rest. Oliver often 
wandered here ; and, thinking of the wretched grave 
in which his mother lay, would sometimes sit him 
down and sob unseen ; but when he raised his eyes 
to the deep sky overhead, he would cease to think 
of her as lying in the ground, and would weep for 
her, sadly, but without pain. 

It was a happy time. The days were peaceful and 
serene; the nights brought with them neither fear 



nor care ; no languishing in a wretched prison, or 
associating with wretched men ; nothing but pleas 
ant and happy thoughts. Every morning he went 
to a white-headed old gentleman, who lived near the" 
little church, who taught Mm to read better, and to 
write ; and who spoke so kindly, and took such pains, 
that Oliver could never try enough to please him. 
Then he would walk with Mrs. Maylie and Rose, and 
hear them talk of books ; or perhaps sit near them 
in some shady place, and listen while the young 
lady read, which he could have done until it grew 
too dark to see the letters. Then he had his own 
lesson for the next day to prepare ; and at this he 
would work hard, in a little room which looked into 
the garden, till evening came slowly on, when the 
ladies would walk out again, and he with them ; list 
ening with such pleasure to all they said; and so 
happy, if they wanted a flower, that he could climb 
to reach, or had forgotten any thing he could run to 
fetch ; that he could never be quick enough about 
it. When it became quite dark, and they returned 
home, the young lady would sit down to the piano, 
and play some pleasant air, or sing, in a low and gen 
tle voice, some old song which it pleased her aunt to 
hear. There would be no candles lighted at such 
times as these ; and Oliver would sit by one of the 
windows, listening to the sweet music in a perfect 
rapture. 

And when Sunday came, how differently the day 
was spent, from any way in which he had ever spent 
it yet ! and how happily too ; like all the other days 
in that most happy time ! There was the little church 
in the morning, with the green leaves fluttering at 
the windows ; the birds singing without ; and the 
sweet-smelling air stealing in at the low porch, and 
filling the homely building with its fragrance. The 
poor people were so neat and clean, and knelt so rev 
erently in prayer, that it seemed a pleasure, not a 
tedious duty, their assembling there together ; and 
though the singing might be rude, it was real, and 
sounded more musical (to Oliver's ears at least) than 
any he had ever heard in church before. Then there 
were the walks as usual, and many calls at the clean 
houses of the laboring men ; and at night Oliver 
read a chapter or two from the Bible, which he had 
been studying all the week, and in the performance 
of which duty he felt more proud and pleased than 
if he had been the clergyman himself. 

In the morning Oliver would be afoot by six 
o'clock, roaming the fields, and plundering the 
hedges far and wide for nosegays of wild flowers, 
with which he would return laden home ; and which 
it took great care and consideration to arrange, to 
the best advantage, for the embellishment of the 
breakfast-table. There was fresh groundsel, too, for 
Miss Maylie's birds, with which Oliver, who had been 
studying the subject under the able tuition of the 
village clerk, would decorate the cages in the most 
approved taste. When the birds were made all spruce 
and smart for the day, there was usually some little 
commission of charity to execute in the village ; or, 
failing that, there was rare cricket-playing, some 
times, on the green ; or, failing that, there was al 
ways something to do in the garden, or about the 
plants, to which Oliver (who had studied this science 
also, under the same master, who was a gardener by 



102 



OLIVER TWIST. 



trade), applied himself with hearty good-will, until 
Miss Rose made her appearance : when there were a 
thousand commendations to be bestowed on all he 
had done. 

So three mouths glided away ; three months which, 
in the life of the most blessed and favored of mor 
tals, might have been uumingled happiness, and 
which, in Oliver's, were true felicity. With the pur 
est and most amiable generosity on one side ; and 
the truest, warmest, soul-felt gratitude on the other ; 
it is no wonder that, by the end of that short time, 
Oliver Twist had become completely domesticated 



and health ; and stretching forth their green arms 
over the thirsty ground, converted open and naked 
spots into choice nooks, where was a deep and pleas 
ant shade from which to look upon the wide pros 
pect, steeped in sunshine, which lay stretched be 
yond. The earth had donned her mantle of bright 
est green, and shed her richest perfumes abroad. It 
was the prime and vigor of the year ; all things were 
glad aud nourishing. 

Still, the same quiet life went on at the little cot 
tage, and the same cheerful serenity prevailed among 
its inmates. Oliver had long since grown stout and 




' WHEN IT BECAME QUITE DAi'.K, AND THEY BKTUBNED HOME, THE YOUNG LADY WOULD SIT DOWN TO THE PIANO AND PLAY SOME 

PLEASANT AIK." 



with the old lady and her niece, and that the fer 
vent attachment of his young and sensitive heart 
was repaid by their pride in, and attachment to, 

himself. 



CHAPTER XXXIII. 

\VHEREIN THE HAPPINESS OF OLIVER AND HIS FRIENDS 
EXPERIENCES A SUDDEN CHECK. 

SPRING flew swiftly by, and summer came. If 
the village had been beautiful at first, it was 
now in the full glow and luxuriance of its richness. 
The great trees, which had looked shrunken and bare 
iu the earlier mouths, had now burst into strong life 



healthy ; but health or sickness made no difference 
iu his warm feelings to those about him, "though they 
do in the feelings of a great many people. He AMIS 
still the same gentle, attached, affectionate creature 
that he had been when pain and suffering had 
wasted his strength, and when he was dependent for 
every slight attention and comfort on those who 
tended him. 

One beautiful night they had taken a longer walk 
than was customary with them ; for the day had 
been unusually warm, and there was a brilliant 
moon, and a light wind had sprung up, which was 
unusually refreshing. Rose had been in high spir 
its, too, and they had walked on, in merry conver 
sation, uutil they had far exceeded their ordinary 



A SEAL ALARM. 



103 



bounds. Mrs. Maylie beiiig fatigued, they returned 
more slowly home. The young lady, merely throw 
ing off her simple bonnet, sat down to the piano as 
usual. After running abstractedly over the keys 
for a few minutes, she fell into a low and very sol 
emn air ; and as she played it, they heard a sound as 
if she were weeping. 

" Rose, my dear!" said the elder lady. 

Rose made no reply, but played a little quicker, as 
though the words had roused her from some painful 
thoughts. 

" Rose, my love !" cried Mrs. Maylie, rising hastily, 
and bending over her. " What is this ? In tears ! 
My dear child, what distresses you ?" 

"Nothing, aunt ; nothing," replied the young lady. 
" I don't know what it is; I can't describe it; but I 
feel 

" Not ill, my love ?" interposed Mrs. Maylie. 

" No, no ! Oh, not ill !" replied Rose, shuddering 
as though some deadly dullness were passing over 
her while she spoke; "I shall be better presently. 
Close the window, pray !" 

Oliver hastened to comply with her request. The 
young lady, making an effort to recover her cheer 
fulness, strove to play some livelier tune ; but her 
fingers dropped powerless on the keys. Covering 
her face with her hands, she sank upon a sofa, and 
gave vent to the tears which she was now unable to 
repress. 

"My child!" said the elderly lady, folding her 
anus about her. " I never saw you so before." 

" I would not alarm you if I could avoid it," re 
joined Rose; "but indeed I have tried very hard, 
and can not help this. I fear I am ill, aunt." 

She was, indeed ; for, when caudles were brought, 
they saw that in the very short time which had 
elapsed since their return home, the hue of her coun 
tenance had changed to a marble whiteness. Its ex 
pression had lost nothing of its beauty, but it was 
changed ; and there was an anxious, haggard look 
about the gentle face, which it had never worn be 
fore. Another minute, and it was suffused with a 
crimson flush, and a heavy wildness came over the 
soft blue eye. Again this disappeared, like the shad 
ow thrown by a passing cloud; and she was once 
more deadly pale. 

Oliver, who watched the old lady anxiously, ob 
served that she was alarmed by these appearances ; 
and so, in truth, was he ; but seeing that she affected 
to make light of them, he endeavored to do the same, 
and they so far succeeded that, when Rose was per 
suaded by her aunt to retire for the night, she was 
iu better spirits, and appeared even in better health ; 
assuring them that she felt certain she should rise in 
the morning quite well. 

" I hope," said Oliver, when Mrs. Maylie returned, 
" that nothing is the matter ? She don't look well 
to-night, but " 

The old lady motioned to him not to speak ; and 
sitting herself down in a dark corner of the room, 
remained silent for some time. At length she said, 
in a trembling voice : 

"I hope not, Oliver. I have been very happy 
with her for some years too happy, perhaps. It 
may be time that I should meet with some misfor 
tune ; but I hope it is not this." 



" What ?" inquired Oliver. 

" The heavy blow," said the old lady, " of losing 
the dear girl who has so long been my comfort and 
happiness." 

" Oh ! God forbid !" exclaimed Oliver, hastily. 

"Amen to that, my child!" said the old lady, 
wringing her hands. 

" Surely there is no danger of any thing so dread 
ful f ' said Oliver. " Two hours ago she was quite 
well." 

" She is very ill now," rejoined Mrs. Maylie ; " and 
will be worse, I am sure. My dear, dear Rose ! Oh, 
what should I do without her ?" 

She gave way to such great grief, that Oliver, 
suppressing his own emotion, ventured to remon 
strate with her, and to beg earnestly that, for the 
sake of the dear young lady herself, she would be 
more cahn. 

"And consider, ma'am," said Oliver, as the tears 
forced themselves into his eyes, despite of his efforts 
to the contrary "oh! consider how young and 
good she is, and what pleasure and comfort she 
gives to all about her. I am sure certain quite 
certain that, for your sake, who are so good your 
self; and for her own; and for the sake of all she 
makes so happy; she will not die.. Heaven will 
never let her die so young." 

" Hush !" said Mrs. Maylie, laying . her hand on 
Oliver's head. " You think like a child, poor boy. 
But you teach me my duty, notwithstanding. I had 
forgotten it for a moment, Oliver, but I hope I may 
be pardoned, for I am old, and have seen enough of 
illness and death to know the agony of separation 
from the objects of our love. I have seen enough, 
too, to know that it is not always the youngest and 
best who are spared to those that love them ; but 
this should give us comfort in our sorrow ; for Heav 
en is just ; and such things teach us, impressively, 
that there is a brighter world than this ; and that 
the passage to it is speedy. God's will be done ! I 
love her; and He knows how well!" 

Oliver was surprised to see that as Mrs. Maylie 
said these words, she checked her lamentations as 
though by one effort ; and drawing herself up as slit- 
spoke, became composed and firm. He was still 
more astonished to find that this firmness lasted; 
and that, under all the care and watching which en 
sued, Mrs. Maylie was ever ready and collected : per 
forming all the duties which devolved upon her, 
steadily, and, to all external appearances, even cheer 
fully. But he was young, and did not know what 
strong minds are capable of, under trying circum 
stances. How should he, when their possessors so 
seldom know themselves ? 

An anxious night ensued. When morning came, 
Mrs. Maylie's predictions were but too well verified. 
Rose was in the first stage of a high and dangerous 
fever. 

" We must be active, Oliver, and not give way to 
useless grief," said Mrs. Maylie, laying her finger on 
her lip, as she looked steadily into his face ; " this 
letter must be sent, with all possible expedition, to 
Mr. Losberue. It must be carried to the market- 
town, which is not more than four miles off by the 
foot-path across the fields, and thence dispatched, by 
an express on horseback, straight to Chertsey. The 



104 



OLIVER TWIST. 



people at the inu will undertake to do this; and I 
can trust to you to see it done, I know." 

Oliver could make no reply, but looked his anx 
iety to be gone at once. 

" Here is another letter," said Mrs. Maylie, pausing 
to reflect ; " but whether to send it now, or wait un 
til I see how Kose goes on, I scarcely know. I would 
not forward it unless I feared the worst." 

" Is it for Chertsey, too, ma'am ?" inquired Oliver, 
impatient to execute his commission, and holding out 
his trembling hand for the letter. 

" No," replied the old lady, giving it to him me 
chanically. Oliver glanced at it, and saw that it 
was directed to Harry Maylie, Esquire, at some great 
lord's house in the country; where, he could not 
make out. 

" Shall it go, ma'am ?" asked Oliver, looking up, 
impatiently. 

" I think not," replied Mrs. Maylie, taking it back. 
" I will Avait until to-morrow." 

With these words she gave Oliver her purse, and 
he started off, without more delay, at the greatest 
speed he could muster. 

Swiftly he ran across the fields, and down the lit 
tle lanes which sometimes divided them; now al 
most hidden by the high corn on either side, and 
now emerging on an open field, where the mowers 
and hay-makers were busy at their work; nor did 
he stop once, save now and then, for a few seconds, 
to recover breath, until he came, in a great heat, and 
covered with dust, on the little market-place of the 
market-town. 

Here he paused and looked about for the inn. 
There were a white bank, and a red brewery, and a 
yellow town-hall; and in one corner there was a 
large house, with all the wood about it painted 
green, before which was the sign of " The George." 
To this he hastened, as soon as it caught his eye. 

He spoke to a postboy who was dozing under the 
gate-way ; and who, after hearing what he wanted, 
referred him to the hostler ; who, after hearing all 
he had to say again, referred him to the landlord, 
who was a tall gentleman in a blue neckcloth, a 
white hat, drab breeches, and boots with tops to 
match, leaning against a pump by the stable-door, 
picking his teeth with a silver tooth-pick. 

This gentleman walked with much deliberation 
into the bar to make out the bill, which took a long 
time making out ; and after it was ready and paid, 
a horse had to be saddled, and a man to be dressed, 
which took up ten good minutes more. Meanwhile 
Oliver was in such a desperate state of impatience 
and anxiety, that he felt as if he could have jumped 
upon the horse himself, and galloped away, full tear, 
to the next stage. At length all was ready, and the 
little parcel having been handed up, with many in 
junctions and entreaties for its speedy delivery, the 
man set spurs to his horse, and rattling over the 
uneven paving of the market-place, was out of the 
town, and galloping along the turnpike -road, in a 
couple of minutes. 

As it was something to feel certain that assist 
ance was sent for, and that 110 time had been lost, 
Oliver hurried up the inn-yard with a somewhat 
lighter heart. He was turning out of the gate-way 
when he accidentally stumbled against a tall man 



wrapped in a cloak, who was at that moment com 
ing out of the inn door. 

" Hah !" cried the man, fixing his eyes on Oliver, 
and suddenly recoiling. " What the devil's this ?" 

" I beg your pardon, sir," said Oliver ; " I was in 
a great hurry to get home, and didn't see you were 
coming." 

" Death !" muttered the man to himself, glaring at 
the boy with his large dark eyes. "Who would 
have thought it ! Grind him to ashes ! He'd start 
up from a stone coffin, to come in my way !" 

" I am sorry," stammered Oliver, confused by the 
strange man's wild look. " I hope I have not hurt 
you !" 

" Eot you !" murmured the man, in a horrible pas 
sion, between his clenched teeth ; " if I had only had 
the courage to say the word, I might have been free 
of you in a night. Curses on your head, and black 
death on your heart, you imp ! What are you doing 
here f ' 

The man shook his fist as he uttered these words 
incoherently. He advanced toward Oliver, as if 
with the intention of aiming a blow at him, but fell 
violently on the ground, writhing and foaming, in a 
fit. 

Oliver gazed, for a moment, at the struggles of the 
madman (for such he supposed him to be), and then 
darted into the house for help. Having seen him 
safely carried into the hotel, he turned his face 
homeward, running as fast as he could, to make up 
for lost time, and recalling with a great deal of as 
tonishment and some fear the extraordinary behav 
ior of the person from whom he had just parted. 

The circumstance did not dwell in his recollection 
long, however ; for when he reached the cottage, 
there was enough to occupy his mind, and to drive all 
considerations of self completely from his memory. 

Rose Maylie had rapidly grown worse ; before mid 
night she was delirious. A medical practitioner, 
who resided on the spot, was in constant attendance 
upon her ; and after first seeing the patient, he had 
taken Mrs. Maylie aside, and pronounced her disor 
der to be one of a most alarming nature. " In fact," 
he said, " it would be little short of a miracle if she 
recovered." 

How often did Oliver start from his bed that night, 
and stealing out, with noiseless footstep, to the stair 
case, listen for the slightest sound from the sick- 
chamber ! How often did a tremble shake his frame, 
and cold drops of terror start upon his brow, when a 
sudden trampling of feet caused him to fear that 
something too dreadful to think of had even then 
occurred ! And what had been the fervency of all 
the prayers he had ever uttered, compared with 
those he poured forth now, in the agony and pas 
sion of his supplication for the life and health of 
the gentle creature who was tottering on the deep 
grave's verge ! 

Oh ! the suspense, the fearful, acute suspense, of 
standing idly by while the life of one we dearly 
love is trembling in the balance ! Oh ! the racking 
thoughts that crowd upon the mind, and make the 
heart beat violently, and the breath come thick, by 
the force of the images they conjure up before it ; 
the desperate anxiety io be doing something to relieve 
the pain, or lessen the danger, which we have no 



FLO WEBS FOB THE SICK-CHAMJ3EB. 



105 



power to alleviate ; the sinkiiig of soul and spirit, 
which the sad remembrance of our helplessness pro 
duces ; what tortures can equal these ; what reflec 
tions or endeavors can, in the full tide and fever of 
the time, allay them ! 

Morning came ; and the little cottage was lonely 
and still. People spoke in whispers ; anxious faces 
appeared at the gate, from time to time ; women and 
children went away in tears. All the livelong day, 
and for hours after it had grown dark, Oliver paced 
softly up and down the garden, raising his eyes 
every instant to the sick-chamber, and shuddering 
to see the darkened window, looking as if death lay 
stretched inside. Late at night Mr. Losberne ar 
rived. " It is hard," said the good doctor, turning 
away as he spoke ; " so young ; so much beloved ; 
but there is very little hope." 

Another morning. The sun shone brightly as 
brightly as if it looked upon no misery or care ; and, 
with every leaf and flower in full bloom about her ; 
with life and health, and sounds and sights of joy, 
surrounding her on every side, the fair young crea 
ture lay, wasting fast. Oliver crept away to the old 
church-yard, and sitting down on one of the green 
mounds, wept and prayed for her in silence. 

There was such peace and beauty in the scene ; so 
much of brightness and mirth in the sunny land 
scape ; such blithesome music in the songs of the 
summer birds ; such freedom in the rapid flight of 
the rook, careering overhead ; so much of life and 
joyousness in all; that, when the boy raised his 
acMng eyes and looked about, the thought instinct 
ively occurred to him, that this was not a tune for 
death ; that Rose could surely never die when hum 
bler things were all so glad and gay; that graves 
were for cold and cheerless winter ; not for sunlight 
and fragrance. He almost thought that shrouds 
were for the old and shrunken ; and that they never 
wrapped the young and graceful form in their ghast 
ly folds. 

A knell from the church-bell broke harshly on 
these youthful thoughts. Another ! Again ! It was 
tolling for the funeral service. A group of humble 
mourners entered the gate, wearing white favors, for 
the corpse was young. They stood uncovered by 
a grave ; and there was a mother a mother once 
among the weeping train. But the sun shone 
brightly, and the birds sang on. 

Oliver turned homeward, thinking on the many 
kindnesses he had received from the young lady, 
and wishing that the time could come over again, 
that he might never cease showing her how grateful 
and attached he was. He had no cause for self- 
reproach on the score of neglect or want of thought, 
for he had been devoted to her service ; and yet a 
hundred little occasions rose up before him on 
which he fancied he might have been more zealous 
and more earnest, and wished he had been. We 
need be careful how we deal with those about us, 
when every death carries to some small circle of 
survivors thoughts of so much omitted, and so lit 
tle done of so many things forgotten, and so many 
more which might have been repaired ! There is no 
remorse so deep as that which is unavailing ; if we 
would be spared its tortures, let us remember this in 
time. 



When he reached home Mrs. Maylie was sitting in 
the little parlor. Oliver's heart sank at sight of 
her ; for she had never left the bedside of her niece, 
and he trembled to think what change could have 
driven her away. He learned that she had fallen 
into a deep sleep, from which she would waken, 
either to recovery and life, or to bid them farewell 
and die. 

They sat, listening, and afraid to speak for hours. 
The uutasted meal was removed, with looks which 
showed that their thoughts were elsewhere, they 
watched the sun as he sank lower and lower, and 
at length cast over sky and earth those brilliant 
hues which herald his departure. Their quick ears 
caught the sound of an approaching footstep. They 
both involuntarily darted to the door, as Mr. Los 
berne entered. 

" What of Eose ?" cried the old lady. " Tell me at 
onee ! I can bear it ; any thing but suspense ! Oh, 
tell me ! in the name of Heaven !" 

" You must compose yourself," said the doctor, sup 
porting her. " Be calm, my dear ina'ain, pray." 

" Let me go, in God's name ! My dear child ! She 
is dead ! She is dying !" 

"No!" cried the doctor, passionately. "As He is 
good and merciful, she will live to bless us all for 
years to come." 

The lady fell upon her knees, and tried to fold her 
hands together ; but the energy which had support 
ed her so long, fled up to Heaven with her first 
thanksgiving; and she sank into the MeQdly anus 
which were extended to receive her. 



CHAPTER XXXIV. 

CONTAINS SOME INTRODUCTORY PARTICULARS RELATIVE 
TO A YOUNG GENTLEMAN WHO NOW ARRIVES UPON THE 
SCENE, AND A NEW ADVENTURE WHICH HAPPENED TO 
OLIVER. 

IT was almost too much happiness to bear. Oliver 
felt stunned and stupefied by the unexpected in 
telligence ; he could not weep, or speak, or rest. He 
had scarcely the power of understanding any thing 
that had passed, until, after a long ramble in the 
quiet evening air, a burst of tears came to his relief, 
and he seemed to awaken, all at once, to a full sense 
of the joyful change that had occurred, and the al 
most insupportable load of anguish which had been 
taken from his breast. 

The night was fast closing in when he returned 
homeward, laden with flowers which he had culled, 
with peculiar care, for the adornment of the sick- 
chamber. As he walked briskly along the road, 
he heard behind him the noise of some vehicle, ap 
proaching at a furious pace. Looking round, he saw 
that it was a post-chaise, driven at great speed ; and 
as the horses were galloping, and the road was nar 
row, he stood leaning against a gate until it should 
have passed him. 

As it dashed on, Oliver caught a glimpse of a man 
in a white night-cap, whose face seemed familiar to 
him, although Ms view was so brief that he could 
not identify the person. In another second or two, 
the night-cap was thrust out of the chaise-window, 



100 



OLIVER TWIST. 



and a stentorian voice bellowed to the driver to 
stop ; which he did, as soon as he could pull up his 
horses. Then the night-cap once again appeared, 
aud the same voice called Oliver by his name. 

" Here !" cried the voice. " Oliver, what's the news ? 
Miss Rose ! Master O-li-ver !" 

"Is it you, Giles?" cried Oliver, running up to the 
chaise-door. 

Giles popped out his night-cap again, preparatory 
to making some reply, when he was suddenly pulled 
back by a young gentleman who occupied the other 
corner of the chaise, and who eagerly demanded what 
was the news. 

"In a word!" cried the gentleman, "better or 
worse ?" 

"Better much better!" replied Oliver, hastily. 



The tears stood in Olivers eyes as he recalled the 
scene which was the beginning of so much happi 
ness ; and the gentleman turned his face away, and 
remained silent for some minutes. Oliver thought 
he heard him sob more than once ; but he feared to 
interrupt him by any fresh remark for he could 
well guess what his feelings were and so stood 
apart, feigning to be occupied with his nosegay. 

All this time Mr. Giles, with the white night-cap 
on, had been sitting on the steps of the chaise, sup 
porting an elbow on each knee, and wiping his eyes 
with a blue cotton pocket-handkerchief dotted with 
white spots. That the honest fellow had not been 
feigning emotion, was abundantly demonstrated by 
the very red eyes with which he regarded the young 
gentleman when he turned round and addressed him. 




" LOOKING BOTTNJ), IIE SAW TIIAT IT WAS A PO8T-OHAISE, DRIVEN AT GREAT SPEED. 



" Thank Heaven !" exclaimed the gentleman. " You 
are sure ?" 

" Quite, sir," replied Oliver. "The change took 
place only a few hours ago ; and Mr. Losberne says 
that all danger is at an end." 

The gentleman said not another word, but, open 
ing the chaise-door, leaped out, and taking Oliver 
hurriedly by the arm, led him aside. 

" You are quite certain ? There is no possibility of 
any mistake on your part, my boy, is there I" demanded 
the gentleman, in a tremulous voice. " Do not deceive 
me, by awakening hopes that are not to be fulfilled." 

" I would not for the world, sir," replied Oliver. 
" Indeed you may believe me. Mr. Losberue's words 
were, that she would live to bless us all for many 
years to come. I heard him say so." 



" I think you had better go on to my mother's in 
the chaise, Giles," said he. " I would rather walk 
slowly on, so as to gain a little time before I see her. 
You can say I am coming." 

" I beg your pardon, Mr. Harry," said Giles, giving 
a final polish to his ruffled countenance with the 
handkerchief; "but if you would leave the postboy 
to say that, I should be very much obliged to you. 
It wouldn't be proper for the maids to see me in this 
state, sir ; I should never have any more authority 
with them if they did." 

" Well," rejoined Harry Maylie, smiling, " you can 
do as you like. Let him go on with the luggage, if 
you wish it, and do you follow with us. Only first 
exchange that night-cap for some more appropriate 
covering, or we shall be taken for madmeu." 



AX AVOWAL OF LOVE. 



107 



Mr. Giles, reminded of his unbecoming costume, 
snatched off and pocketed his night-cap, and substi 
tuted a hat, of grave and sober shape, which he took 
out of the chaise. This done, the postboy drove off; 
Giles, Mr. Maylie, and Oliver, followed at their leisure. 

As they walked along, Oliver glanced from time to 
time with much interest and curiosity at the new 
comer. He seemed about tive-and-tweuty years of 
age, and was of the middle height ; his countenance 
was frank and handsome, and his demeanor easy 
and prepossessing. Notwithstanding the difference 
between youth and age, he bore so strong a likeness 
to the old lady, that Oliver would have had no great 
difficulty in imagining their relationship, if he had 
not already spoken of her as his mother. 

Mrs. Maylie was anxiously waiting to receive her 
sou when he reached the cottage. The meeting did 
not take place without great emotion oil both sides. 

" Mother !" whispered the young man ; " why did 
you not write before ?" 

" I did," replied Mrs. Maylie ; " but, on reflection, I 
determined to keep back the letter until I had heard 
Mr. Losberue's opinion." 

" But why," said the young man, " why run the 
chance of that occurring which so nearly happened ? 
If Rose had I can not utter that word now if this 
illness had terminated differently, how could you 
ever have forgiven yourself! How could I ever 
Lave known happiness again !" 

" If that had been the case, Harry," said Mrs. May- 
lie, " I fear your happiness would have been effectual 
ly blighted, and that your arrival here, a day sooner 
or a day later, would have been of very, very little 
import." 

"And who can wonder if it be so, mother?" rejoined 
the young man ; " or why should I say iff it is it 
is you know it, mother you must know it !" 

" I know that she deserves the best and purest 
love the heart of man can offer," said Mrs. Maylie; 
" I know that the devotion and affection of her na 
ture require no ordinary return, but one that shall 
be deep and lasting. If I did not feel this, and 
know, besides, that a changed behavior in one she 
loved would break her heart, I should not feel my 
task so difficult of performance, or have to encounter 
so many struggles in my own bosom, when I take 
what seems to me to be the strict line of duty." 

" This is unkind, mother," said Harry. " Do you 
still suppose that I am a boy ignorant of my own 
mind, and mistaking the impulses of my own soul ?" 

" I think, my dear sou," returned Mrs. Maylie, lay 
ing her hand upon his shoulder, " that youth has 
many generous impulses which do not last ; and that 
among them are some which, being gratified, become 
only the more fleeting. Above all, I think," said the 
lady, fixing her eyes ou her son's face, " that if an 
enthusiastic, ardent, and ambitious man marry a 
wife on whose name there is a stain, which, though 
it originate in no fault of hers, may be visited by 
old and sordid people upon her, and upon his chil 
dren also ; and, in exact proportion to his success in 
the world, be cast in his teeth, and made the subject 
of sneers against him ; he may, no matter how gen 
erous and good his nature, one day repent of the coii- 
nei-tion he formed in early life. And she may have 
the pain of knowing that he does so." 



"Mother," said the young man, impatiently, "he 
would be a selfish brute, unworthy alike of the name 
of man and of the woman you describe, who acted 
thus." 

" You think so now, Harry," replied his mother. 
"And ever will!" said the young man. "The 
mental agony I have suffered, during the last two 
days, wrings from me the avowal to you of a passion 
which, as you well know, is not one of yesterday, nor 
one I have lightly formed. On Rose, sweet, gentle 
girl ! my heart is set as firmly as ever heart of man 
was set on woman. I have no thought, no view, no 
hope in life, beyond her ; and if you oppose me in 
this great stake, you take my peace and happiness 
in your hands, and cast them to the wind. Mother, 
think better of this and of me, and do not disre 
gard the happiness of which you seem to think so 
little." 

" Harry," said Mrs. Maylie, " it is because I think 
so much of warm and sensitive hearts, that I would 
spare them from being wounded. But we have said 
enough, and more than enough, on this matter, just 
now." 

" Let it rest with Rose, then," interposed Harry. 
" You will not press these overstrained opinions of 
yours so far as to throw any obstacle in my way .'" 

" I will not," rejoined Mrs. Maylie ; " but I would 
have you consider " 

" I have considered !" was the impatient reply ; 
" mother, I have considered years and years. I have 
considered ever since I have been capable of serious 
reflection. My feelings remain unchanged, as they 
ever will ; and why should I suffer the pain of a de 
lay in giving them vent, which can be productive of 
no earthly good? No! Before I leave this place, 
Rose shall hear me." 

" She shall," said Mrs. Maylie. 
" There is something in your manner which would 
almost imply that she will hear me coldly, mother," 
said the young man. 

" Not coldly," rejoined the old lady ; " far from it." 
"How then?" urged the young man. "She has 
formed no other attachment ?" 

" No, indeed," replied his mother ; " you have, or I 
mistake, too strong a hold on her affections already. 
What I would say," resumed the old lady, stopping 
her son as he was about to speak, " is this. Before 
you stake your all on this chance before you suffer 
yourself to be carried to the highest point of hope 
reflect for a few moments, my dear child, on Rose's 
history, and consider what effect the knowledge of 
her doubtful birth may have on her decision; de 
voted as she is to us, with all the intensity of her 
noble mind, and with that perfect sacrifice of self 
which, in all matters, great or trifling, has always 
been her characteristic." 
" What do you mean ?" 

"That I leave you to discover," replied Mrs. May- 
lie. " I must go back to her. God bless you !" 

" I shall see you again to-night ?" said the young 
man, eagerly. 

"By-aud-by," replied the lady; "when I leave 
Rose." 

" You will tell her I am here ?" said Harry. 

" Of course," replied Mrs. Maylie. 

"And say how anxious I have been, and how much 



108 



OLIVER TWIST. 



I have suffered, and how I long to see her. You will 
not refuse to do this, mother f 

" No," said the old lady ; " I will tell her all." 
Aud pressing her sou's hand affectionately, she has 
tened from the room. 

Mr. Losberne and Oliver had remained at another 
end of the apartment while this hurried conversa 
tion was proceeding. The former now held out his 
hand to Harry Maylie, and hearty salutations were 
exchanged between them. The doctor then com 
municated, in reply to multifarious questions from 
his young friend, a precise account of his patient's 
situation, which was quite as consolatory and full of 
promise as Oliver's statement had encouraged him to 
hope ; and to the whole of which Mr. Giles, who af 
fected to be busy about the luggage, listened with 
greedy ears. 

" Have you shot any thing particular lately, Giles ?" 
inquired the doctor, when he had concluded. 

" Nothing particular, sir," replied Mr. Giles, color 
ing up to the eyes. 

"Nor catching any thieves, nor identifying any 
housebreakers ?" said the doctor. 

"None at all, sir," replied Mr. Giles, with much 
gravity. 

" Well," said the doctor, " I am sorry to hear it, 
because you do that sort of thing admirably. Pray 
how is Brittles ?" 

" The boy is very well, sir," said Mr. Giles, recov 
ering his usual tone of patronage, " and sends his re 
spectful duty, sir." 

" That's well," said the doctor. " Seeing you here 
reminds me, Mr. Giles, that on the day before that 
on which I was called away so hurriedly, I executed, 
at the request of yotir good mistress, a small com 
mission in your favor. Just step into this corner a 
moment, will you t" 

Mr. Giles walked into the corner with much im 
portance and some wonder, and was honored with a 
short whispering conference with the doctor, on the 
termination of which he made a great many bows, 
and retired with steps of unusual stateliuess. The 
subject-matter of this conference was not disclosed 
in the parlor, but the kitchen was speedily enlight 
ened concerning it, for Mr. Giles walked straight 
thither, and, having called for a mug of ale, an 
nounced, with an air of majesty, which was highly 
effective, that it had pleased his mistress, in consid 
eration of his gallant behavior on the occasion of 
that attempted robbery, to deposit, in the local sav 
ings bank, the sum of five-aud-twenty pounds for 
his sole use and benefit. At this the two women- 
servants lifted up their hands and eyes, and supposed 
that Mr. Giles would begin to be quite proud now ; 
whereuuto Mr. Giles, pulling out his shirt-frill, re 
plied, " No, no ;" and that if they observed that he 
was at all haughty to his inferiors, he would thank 
them to tell him so. And then he made a great 
many other remarks, no less illustrative of his hu 
mility, which were received with equal favor and 
applause, and were, withal, as original and as much 
to the purpose as the remarks of great men common 
ly are. 

Above stairs the remainder of the evening passed 
cheerfully away ; for the doctor was in high spirits, 
and however fatigued or thoughtful Harry Maylie 



might have been at first, he was not proof against 
the worthy gentleman's good-humor, which display 
ed itself in a great variety of sallies and professional 
recollections, and an abundance of small jokes, which 
struck Oliver as being the drollest things he had 
ever heard, and caused him to laugh proportionate 
ly, to the evident satisfaction of the doctor, who 
laughed immoderately at himself, and made Harry 
laugh almost as heartily by the very force of sympa 
thy. So they were as pleasant a party as, under the 
circumstances, they could well have been, and it was 
late before they retired, with light and thankful 
hearts, to take that rest of which, after the doubt 
and suspense they had recently undergone, they stood 
much in need. 

Oliver rose next morning in better heart, and went 
about his usual early occupations with more hope 
and pleasure than he had known for many days. 
The birds were once more hung out to sing in their 
old places, and the sweetest wild flowers that could 
be found were once more gathered to gladden Rose 
with their beauty. The melancholy which had 
seemed to the sad eyes of the anxious boy to hang, 
for days past, over every object, beautiful as all were, 
was dispelled by magic. The dew seemed to sparkle 
more brightly on the green leaves, the air to rustle 
among them with a sweeter music, and the sky itself 
to look more blue and bright. Such is the influence 
which the condition of bur own thoughts exercises, 
even over the appearance of external objects. Men 
who look on nature and their fellow-men, and cry 
that all is dark and gloomy, are in the right ; but 
the sombre colors are reflections from their own 
jaundiced eyes and hearts. The real hues are deli 
cate, and need a clearer vision. 

It is worthy of remark, and Oliver did not fail to 
note it at the time, that his morning expeditions 
were no longer made alone. Harry Maylie, after the 
very first morning when he met Oliver coming laden 
home, was seized with such a passion for flowers, 
and displayed such a taste in their arrangement, 
as left his young companion far behind. If Oliver 
were behindhand in these respects, however, he knew 
where the best were to be found ; and morning af 
ter morning they scoured the country together, and 
brought home the fairest that blossomed. The win 
dow of the young lady's chamber was opened now. 
for she loved to feel the rich summer air stream in 
and revive her with its freshness, but there always 
stood in water, just inside the lattice, one particular 
little bunch, which was made np with great care ev 
ery morning. Oliver could not help noticing that 
the withered flowers were never thrown away, al 
though the little vase was regularly replenished ; 
nor could he help observing that, whenever the doc 
tor came into the garden, he invariably cast his eyes 
up to that particular corner, and nodded his head 
most expressively as he set forth on his morning's 
walk. Pending these observations, the days were 
flying by, and Rose was rapidly recovering. 

Nor did Oliver's time hang heavily on his hands, 
although the young lady had not yet left her cham 
ber, and there were no evening walks, save now and 
then for a short distance with Mrs. Maylie. He ap 
plied himself with redoubled assiduity to the instruc 
tions of the white-headed old gentleman, and labored 



OLIVER SLEEP-WAKIXG. 



109 



so hard that his quick progress surprised even him 
self. It was while he was engaged in this pursuit 
that he was greatly startled aud distressed by a most 
unexpected occurrence. 

The little room in which he was accustomed to sit 
when busy at his books was on the ground-floor at 
the back of the house. It was quite a cottage-room, 
with a lattice-window, around which were clusters 
of jessamine and honeysuckle that crept over the 
casement and filled the place with their delicious 
perfume. It looked into a garden, whence a wicket- 
gate opened into a small paddock ; all beyond was 
fine meadow-laud aud wood. There was no other 
dwelling near in that direction, and the prospect it 
commanded was very extensive. 

One beautiful evening, when the first shades of 
twilight were beginning to settle upon the earth, 
Oliver sat at this window intent upon his books. 
He had been poring over them for some time, and as 
the day had been uncommonly sultry, and he had 
exerted himself a great deal, it is no disparagement 
to the authors, whoever they may have been, to say 
that gradually and by slow degrees he fell asleep. 

There is a kind of sleep that steals upon us some 
times, which, while it holds the body prisoner, does 
not free the mind from a sense of things about it and 
enable it to ramble at its pleasure. So far as an 
overpowering heaviness, a prostration of strength, 
and an utter inability to control our thoughts or 
power of motion can be called sleep, this is it ; and 
yet we have a consciousness of all that is going on 
about us, and, if we dream at such a time, words 
which are really spoken, or sounds which really ex 
ist at the moment, accommodate themselves with 
surprising readiness to our visions, until reality and 
imagination become so strangely blended that it is 
afterward almost matter of impossibility to separate 
the two. Nor is this the most striking phenome 
non incidental to such a state. It is an undoubted 
fact, that although our senses of touch and sight be 
for the time dead, yet our sleeping thoughts and the 
visionary scenes that pass before us, will be influ 
enced, and materially influenced, by the mere silent 
presence of some external object which may not have 
been near us when we closed our eyes, and of whose 
vicinity we have had no waking consciousness. 

Oliver knew perfectly well that he was in his own 
little room ; that his books were lying on the table 
before him ; that the sweet air was stirring among 
the creeping plants outside. And yet he was asleep. 
Suddenly the scene changed ; the air became close 
and confined; and he thought, with a glow of terror, 
that he was in the Jew's house again. There sat the 
hideous old man, in his accustomed corner, pointing 
at him, and whispering to another man, with his face 
averted, who sat beside him. 

" Hush, my dear !" he thought he heard the Jew 
say ; " it is he, sure enough. Come away." 

" He !" the other man seemed to answer ; " could 
I mistake him, think you ? If a crowd of ghosts were 
to put themselves into his exact shape, and he stood 
among them, there is something that would tell me 
how to point him out. If you buried him fifty feet 
deep, aud took me across his grave, I fancy I should 
know, if there wasn't a mark above it, that he lay 
buried there !" 



The man seemed to say this with such dreadful 
hatred, that Oliver awoke with the fear, and started 
up. 

Good Heaven ! what was that which sent the blood 
tingling to his heart, and deprived him of his voice, 
and of power to move ! There there at the win 
dow close before him so close that he could have 
almost touched him before he started back, with his 
eyes peering into the room, and meeting his, there 
stood the Jew! And beside him, white with rage or 
fear, or both, were the scowling features of the very 
man who had accosted him in the inn-yard. 

It was but an instant, a glance, a flash, before his 
eyes ; and they were gone. But they had recognized 
him, and he them ; and their look was as firmly im 
pressed upon his memory as if it had been deeply 
carved in stone, and set before him from his birth. 
He stood transfixed for a moment ; then, leaping 
from the window into the garden, called loudly for 
help. 



CHAPTER XXXV. 

CONTAINING THE UNSATISFACTORY RESULT OF OLIVER'S 
ADVENTURE, AND A CONVERSATION OF SOME IMPOR 
TANCE BETWEEN HARRY MAYLIE AND ROSE. 

WHEN the inmates of the house, attracted by 
Oliver's cries, hurried to the spot from which 
they proceeded, they found him, pale and agitated, 
pointing in the direction of the meadows behind the 
house, and scarcely able to articulate the words, 
" The Jew ! the Jew !" 

Mr. Giles was at a loss to comprehend what this 
outcry meant ; but Harry Maylie, whose perceptions 
were something quicker, and who had heard Oliver's 
history from his mother, understood it at once. 

" What direction did he take ?" he asked, catching 
up a heavy stick which was standing in a corner. 

" That," replied Oliver, pointing out the course 
the man had taken ; " I missed them in an instant." 

" Then they are in the ditch !" said Harry. " Fol 
low ! And keep as near me as you can." So saying, 
he sprang over the hedge, and darted off with a speed 
which rendered it matter of exceeding difficulty for 
the others to keep near him. 

Giles followed as well as he could, and Oliver fol 
lowed too ; and in the course of a minute or two, Mr. 
Losberne, who had been out walking, and just then 
returned, tumbled over the hedge after them, and 
picking himself up with more agility than he could 
have been supposed to possess, struck into the same 
course at no contemptible speed, shouting all the 
while most prodigiously to know what was the mat 
ter. 

On they all went; nor stopped they once to breathe 
until the leader, striking off into an angle of the field 
indicated by Oliver, began to search narrowly the 
ditch and hedge adjoining, which afforded time for 
the remainder of the party to come up, and for Oli 
ver to communicate to Mr. Losberne the circum 
stances that had led to so vigorous a pursuit. 

The search was all in vain. There were not even 
the traces of recent footsteps to be seen. They 
stood now on the summit of a little hill commanding 
the open fields in every direction for three or four 



110 



OLIVER TWIST. 



miles. There was the Tillage in the hollow on the 
left ; but, in order to gain that, after pursuing the 
truck Oliver had pointed out, the men must have 
made a circuit of open ground, which it was impos 
sible they could have accomplished in so short a 
time. A thick wood skirted the* meadow-land in an 
other direction, but they could not have gained that 
covert for the same reason. 

" It must have been a dream, Oliver," said Harry 
Maylie. 

"Oh no, indeed, sir!" replied Oliver, shuddering 
at the very recollection of the old wretch's counte 
nance ; " I saw him too plainly for that. I saw them 
both as plainly as I see you uow." 

" Who was the other f" inquired Harry and Mr. 
Losberne together. 

" The very same man I told yon of, who came so 
suddenly upon me at the inn," said Oliver. "We 
had our eyes fixed full upon each other ; and I could 
swear to him." 

" They took this way ?" demanded Harry : " are 
you sure ?" 

" As I am that the men were at the window," re 
plied Oliver, pointing down as he spoke to the hedge 
which divided the cottage garden from the meadow. 
" The tall man leaped over just there ; and the Jew, 
running a few paces to the right, crept through that 
gap." 

The two gentlemen watched Oliver's earnest face 
as he spoke, and, looking from him to each other, 
seemed to feel satisfied of the accuracy of what he 
said. Still in no direction were there any appear 
ances of the trampling of men in hurried flight. The 
grass was long, but it was trodden down nowhere, 
save where their own feet had crushed it. The sides 
aud brinks of the ditches were of damp clay ; but in 
no one place could they discern the print of men's 
shoes, or the slightest mark which Avould indicate that 
any feet had pressed the ground for hours before. 

'' This is strange !" said Harry. 

" Strange !" echoed the doctor. " Blathers and 
Duff themselves could make nothing of it !" 

Notwithstanding the evidently useless nature of 
their search, they did not desist until the coming on 
of night rendered its further prosecution hopeless ; 
and even then they gave it up with reluctance. 
Giles was dispatched to the different ale-houses in 
the village, furnished with the best description Oli 
ver could give of the appearance and dress of the 
strangers. Of these the Jew was, at all events, suf 
ficiently remarkable to be remembered, supposing he 
had been seen drinking or loitering about ; but Giles 
returned without any intelligence calculated to dis 
pel or lessen the mystery. 

On the next day fresh search was made, and the 
inquiries renewed, but with no better success. On 
the day following, Oliver and Mr. Maylie repaired to 
the market-town, in the hope of seeing or hearing 
something of the men there ; but this effort was 
equally fruitless. After a few days the affair began 
to be forgotten, as most affairs are, when wonder, 
having no fresh food to support it, dies away of it 
self. 

Meanwhile Kose was rapidly recovering. She had 
left her room ; was able to go out ; and, mixing once 
more with the family, carried joy into the hearts of all. 



But although this happy change had a visible ef 
fect on the little circle, and although cheerful voices 
and merry laughter were once more heard in the cot 
tage, there was at times an unwonted restraint upon 
some there, even upon Rose herself, which Oliver 
could not fail to remark. Mrs. Maylie and her son 
were often closeted together for fi long time ; and 
more than once Rose appeared with traces of tears 
upon her face. After Mr. Losberne had fixed a day 
for his departure to Chertsey these symptoms in 
creased; and it became evident that something was 
in progress which affected the peace of the young 
lady, and of somebody else besides. 

At length, one morning, when Rose was alone in 
the breakfast - parlor, Harry Maylie entered; and, 
with some hesitation, begged permission to speak 
with her for a few moments. 

" A few a very few will suffice, Rose," said the 
young man, drawing his chair toward her. " What 
I shall have to say has already presented itself -to 
your mind ; the most cherished hopes of my heart are 
not unknown to you, though from my lips you have 
not yet heard them stated." 

Rose had been very pale from the moment of his 
entrance, but that might have been the effect of her 
recent illness. She merely bowed, and, bending 
over some plants that stood near, waited in silence 
for him to proceed. 

"I I ought to have left here before," said 
Harry. 

" You should, indeed," replied Rose. "Forgive me 
for saying so, but I wish you had." 

"I was brought here by the most dreadful and 
agonizing of all apprehensions," said the young man : 
" the fear of losing the one dear being on whom my 
every wish and hope are fixed. You had been dy 
ing trembling between earth and heaven. AVe 
know that when the young, the beautiful, and good 
are visited with sickness, their pure spirits insensibly 
turn toward their bright home of lasting rest ; we 
know, Heaven help us! that the best and fairest of 
our kind too often fade in blooming." 

There were tears in the eyes of the gentle girl as 
these words were spoken ; and when one fell upon 
the flower over which she bent, and glistened bright 
ly in its cup, making it more beautiful, it seemed as 
though the outpouring of her fresh young heart 
claimed kindred naturally with the loveliest things 
in nature. 

" A creature," continued the young man, passion 
ately " a creature as fair and innocent of guile as 
one of God's own angels, fluttered between life and 
death. Oh! who could hope, when the distant 
world to which she was akin half opened to her 
view, that she would return to the sorrow and ca 
lamity of this ! Rose, Rose, to know that you were 
passing away like some soft shadow which a light 
from above casts upon the earth ; to have no hope 
that you would be spared to those who linger here ; 
hardly to know a reason why you should be ; to feel 
that you belonged to that bright sphere whither so 
many of the fairest and the best have winged their 
early flight ; and yet to pray, amidst all these con 
solations, that you might be restored to those who 
loved you these were distractions almost too great 
to bear. They were mine, by day and night : and 



A LOVE SCENE. 



Ill 



with them came such a rushing torrent of fears, and 
apprehensions, and selfish regrets, lest you should 
die, and never know how devotedly I loved you, as 
almost bore down sense and reason in its course. 
You recovered. Day by day, and almost hour by 
hour, some drop of health came back, and, mingling 
with the spent and feeble stream of life which cir 
culated languidly within you, swelled it again to a 
high and rushing tide. I have watched you change 
almost from death to life with eyes that turned blind 
with their eagerness and deep atfection. Do not tell 
me that you wish I had lost this ; for it has softened 
in v heart to all mankind." 



your hand, as in redemption of some old mute con 
tract that had been sealed between us! That time 
has not arrived ; but here, with no fame won, and no 
young vision realized, I offer you the heart so long 
your ow r n, and stake my all upon the words with 
which you greet the offer." 

"Your behavior has ever been kind and noble," 
said Rose, mastering the emotions by which she was 
agitated. "As you believe that I am not insensible 
or ungrateful, so hear my answer." 

" It is, that I may endeavor to deserve you ; it is, 
dear Rose ?" 

"It is," replied Rose, "that you must endeavor to 




'A FEtf A VEKY FEW WILL SUFFICE, BO8E," SAID TI1E YOUNG MAN, DBAWING UI8 O11AIB TOWABJ) IIEK. 



" I did not mean that," said Rose, weeping ; " I 
only wish you had left here, that you might have 
turned to high and noble pursuits again ; to pursuits 
well worthy of you." 

" There is no pursuit more worthy of me, more 
worthy of the highest nature that exists, than the 
struggle to win such a heart as yours," said the young 
man, taking her hand. " Rose, my own dear Rose ! 
For years for years I have loved you ; hoping to 
win my way to fame, and then come proudly home 
and tell you it had been pursued only for you to 
share ; thinking, in my day-dreams, how I would re 
mind you, in that happy moment, of the many silent 
tokens I had given of a boy's attachment, and claim 



forget me ; not as your old and dearly-attached com 
panion, for that would wound me deeply, but as the 
object of your love. Look into the world; think 
how many hearts you would be proud to gain are 
there. Confide some other passion to me, if you 
will ; I will be the truest, warmest, and most faith 
ful friend you have." 

There was a pause, during which Rose, who had 
covered her face with one hand, gave free vent to 
her tears. Harry still retained the other. 

"And your reasons, Rose," he said at length, in a 
low voice ; " your reasons for this decision ?" 

" You have a right to know them," rejoined Rose. 
" You can say nothing to alter my resolution. It is 



112 



OLIVER TWIST. 



a duty that I must perform. I owe it alike to oth 
ers and to myself." 

"To yourself?" 

" Yes, Harry. I owe it to myself, that I, a friend 
less, portionless girl, with a blight upon my name, 
should not give your friends reason to suspect that I 
had sordidly yielded to your first passion, and fast 
ened myself, a clog, on all your hopes and projects. 
I owe it to you and yours, to prevent you from op 
posing, in the warmth of your generous nature, this 
great obstacle to your progress in the world." 

"If your inclinations chime with your sense of 
duty " Harry began. 

" They do not," replied Rose, coloring deeply. 

" Then you return my love ?" said Harry. " Say 
but that, dear Eose ; say but that, and soften the 
bitterness of this hard disappointment !" 

" If I could have done so, without doing heavy 
wrong to him I loved," rejoined Rose, " I could 
have " 

" Have received this declaration very differently," 
said Harry. " Do not conceal that from me, at least, 
Rose." 

" I could," said Rose. " Stay !" she added, disen 
gaging her hand, "why should we prolong this pain 
ful interview ? Most painful to me, and yet produc 
tive of lasting happiness, notwithstanding ; for it 
icill be happiness to know that I once held the high 
place in your regard which I now occupy, and every 
triumph you achieve in life will animate me with 
new fortitude and firmness. Farewell, Harry ! As 
we have met to-day, we meet no more ; but in oth 
er relations than those in which this conversation 
would have placed us, we may be long and happily 
entwined ; and may every blessing that the prayers 
of a true and earnest heart can call down from the 
source of all truth and sincerity cheer and prosper 
you !" 

"Another word, Rose," said Harry. " Your reason 
in your own words. From your own lips let me 
hear it !" 

" The prospect before you," answered Rose, firmly, 
" is a brilliant one. All the honors to which great 
talents and powerful connections can help men in 
public life are in store for you. But those connec 
tions are proud; and I will neither mingle with 
such as may hold in scorn the mother who gave me 
life, nor bring disgrace or failure on the son of her 
who has so well supplied that mother's place. In a 
word," said the young lady, turning away, as her 
temporary firmness forsook her, "there is a stain 
upon my name which the world visits on innocent 
heads. I will carry it into no blood but my own ; 
and the reproach shall rest alone on me." 

" One word more, Rose. Dearest Rose, one more !" 
cried Harry, throwing himself before her. " If I had 
been less less fortunate, the world would call it 
if some obscure and peaceful life had been my des 
tiny if I had been poor, sick, helpless would you 
have turned from me then? Or has my probable 
advancement to riches and honor given this scruple 
birth?" 

" Do not press me to reply," answered Rose. " The 
question does not arise, and never will. It is unfair, 
almost unkind, to urge it." 

" If your answer be whai I almost dare to hope it 



is," retorted Harry, " it will shed a gleam of happi 
ness upon my lonely way, and light the path before 
me. It is not an idle thing to do so much, by the ut 
terance of a few brief words, for one who loves you 
beyond all else. Oh, Rose ! in the name of my ar 
dent and enduring attachment ; in the name of all I 
have suffered for you, and all you doom me to under 
go, answer me this one question !" 

" Then, if your lot had been differently cast," re 
joined Rose ; " if you had been even a little, but not 
so far, above me ; if I could have been a help and 
comfort to you in any humble scene of peace and re 
tirement, and not a blot and drawback in ambitious 
and distinguished crowds, I should have been spared 
this trial. I have every reason to be happy, very 
happy, now ; but then, Harry, I own I should have 
been happier." 

Busy recollections of old hopes, cherished as a girl 
long ago, crowded into the mind of Rose while mak 
ing this avowal ; but they brought tears with them, 
as old hopes will when they come back .withered; 
and they relieved her. 

" I can not help this weakness, and it makes my 
purpose stronger," said Rose, extending her hand. 
" I must leave you now, indeed." 

" I ask one promise," said Harry. " Once, and only 
once more say within a year, but it may be much 
sooner I may speak to you again on this subject for 
the last time." 

"Not to press me to alter my right determination," 
replied Rose, with a melancholy smile ; " it will be 
useless." 

" No," said Harry ; " to hear you repeat it, if you 
will finally repeat it ! I will lay at your feet what 
ever of station or fortune I may possess ; and if you 
still adhere to your present resolution, will not seek, 
by word or act, to change it." 

"Then let it be so," rejoined Rose ; "it is but one 
pang the more, and by that time I may be enabled to 
bear it better." 

She extended her hand again. But the young man 
caught her to his bosom, and imprinting one kiss on 
her beautiful forehead, hurried from the room. 



CHAPTER XXXVI. 

IS A VERY SHORT ONE, AND MAY APPEAR OF NO GREAT 
IMPORTANCE IN ITS PLACE; BUT IT SHOULD BE READ 
NOTWITHSTANDING, AS A SEQUEL TO THE LAST, AND A 
KEY TO ONE THAT WILL FOLLOW WHEN ITS TIME AR 
RIVES. 

ND so you are resolved to be my traveling coni- 
. panion this morning, eh ?" said the doctor, as 
Harry Maylie joined him and Oliver at the breakfast- 
table. " Why, you are not in the same mind or in 
tention two half hours together !" 

"You will tell me a different tale one of these 
days," said Harry, coloring, without any perceptible 
reason. 

" I hope I may have good cause to do so," replied 
Mr. Losberne ; " though I confess I don't think I 
shall. But yesterday morning you had made up 
your mind, in a great hurry, to stay here, and to ac 
company your mother, like a dutiful sou, to the sea- 



HARRY MATLIE AXD OLIVER. 



113 



side. Before noon yon announce that you are going 
to do me the honor of accompanying me as far as I 
go, on your road to London. And at night you urge 
inc. with great mystery, to start before the ladies are 
stirring ; the consequence of which is, that young 
Oliver here is pinned down to his breakfast, when 
he ought to be ranging the meadows after botanical 
phenomena of all kinds. Too bad, isn't it, Oliver ?" 

" I should have been very sorry not to have been 
at home when you and Mr. Maylie went away, sir," 
rejoined Oliver. 

" That's a fine fellow !" said the doctor ; " you shall 
come and see me when you return. But, to speak 
seriously, Harry, has any communication from the 
great nobs produced this sudden anxiety on your 
part to be gone ?" 

" The great nobs," replied Harry, " under which 
designation, I presume, you include my most stately 
uncle, have not communicated with me at all since I 
have been here ; nor, at this time of the year, is it 
likely that any thing would occur to render necessa 
ry my immediate attendance among them." 

" Well," said the doctor, " you are a queer fellow. 
But of course they will get you into Parliament at 
the election before Christmas, and these sudden 
sniffings and changes are no bad preparation for po 
litical life. There's something in that. Good train 
ing is always desirable, whether the race be for place, 
cup, or sweepstakes." 

Harry Maylie looked as if he could have followed 
up this short dialogue by one or two remarks that 
would have staggered the doctor not a little ; but he 
contented himself with saying, " We shall see," and 
pursued the subject no further. The post-chaise 
droA~e up to the door shortly afterward ; and Giles 
coming in for the luggage, the good doctor bustled 
out, to see it packed. 

" Oliver," said Harry Maylie, in a low voice, " let 
me speak a word with you." 

Oliver walked into the window-recess to which 
Mr. Maylie beckoned him; much surprised at the 
mixture of sadness and boisterous spirits which his 
whole behavior displayed. 

" You can write well now ?" said Harry, laying his 
hand upon his arm. 

" I hope so, sir," replied Oliver. 

" I shall not be at home again, perhaps, for some 
time ; I wish you would write to me say once a 
fortnight, every alternate Monday, to the General 
Post-office in London. \Vill you ?" 

" Oh ! certainly, sir ; I shall be proud to do it," ex 
claimed Oliver, greatly delighted with the commis 
sion. 

" I should like to know how how my mother and 
Miss Maylie are," said the young man; "and you 
can fill up a sheet by telling me what walks you 
take, and what you talk about, and whether she 
they, I mean seem happy and quite well. You un 
derstand me?" 

"OhT quite, sir, quite," replied Oliver. 

" I would rather you did not mention it to them," 
said Harry, hurrying over his words ; " because it 
might make my mother anxious to write to me ofteu- 
er, and it is a trouble and worry to her. Let it be a 
sccn-t between you and me; and mind you tell me 
every thing ! I depend unon you." 
H 



Oliver, quite elated and honored by a sense of his 
importance, faithfully promised to be secret and ex 
plicit in his communications. Mr. Maylie took leave 
of him, with many assurances of his regard and pro 
tection. 

The doctor was in the chaise ; Giles (who it had 
been arranged, should be left behind) held the door 
open in his hand, and the women-servants were in 
the garden, looking on. Harry cast one slight glance 
at the latticed window, and jumped into the car 
riage. 

"Drive on!" he cried, "hard, fast, full gallop! 
Nothing short of flying will keep pace with me to 
day." 

" Halloo !" cried the doctor, letting down the front 
glass in a great hurry, and shouting to the postilion ; 
" something very short of flying will keep pace with 
me. Do you hear ?" 

Jingling and clattering, till distance rendered its 
noise inaudible, and its rapid progress only percepti 
ble to the eye, the vehicle wound its way along the 
road, almost hidden in a cloud of dust : now wholly 
disappearing, and now becoming visible again, as in 
tervening objects, or the intricacies of the way, per 
mitted. It was not until even the dusty cloud was 
no longer to be seen that the gazers dispersed. 

And there was one looker-on, who remained with 
eyes fixed upon the spot where the carriage had dis 
appeared long after it was many miles away; for, 
behind the white curtain which had shrouded her 
from view when Harry raised his eyes toward the 
window, sat Eose herself. 

" He seems in high spirits and happy," she said, at 
length. " I feared for a time he might be otherwise. 
I was mistaken. I am very, very glad." 

Tears are signs of gladness as well as grief; but 
those which coursed down Rose's face as she sat pen 
sively at the window, still gazing in the same direc 
tion, seemed to tell more of sorrow than of joy. 



CHAPTER XXXVII. 

IN WHICH THE READER MAY PERCEIVE A CONTRAST NOT 
UNCOMMON IN MATRIMONIAL CASES. 

MR. BUMBLE sat in the work-house parlor, with 
his eyes moodily fixed on the cheerless grate, 
whence, as it was summer-time, no brighter gleam 
proceeded than the reflection of certain sickly rays 
of the sun, which were sent back from its cold and 
shining surface. A paper fly-cage dangled from the 
ceiling, to which he occasionally raised his eyes in 
gloomy thought ; and, as the heedless insects hov 
ered round the gaudy net- work, Mr. Bumble would 
heave a deep sigh, while a more gloomy shadow 
overspread his countenance. Mr. Bumble was med 
itating; it might be that the insects brought to 
mind some painful passage in his own past life. 

Nor was Mr. Bumble's gloom the only thing calcu 
lated to awaken a pleasing melancholy in the bosom 
of a spectator. There were not wanting other ap 
pearances, and those closely connected with his own 
person, which announced that a great change had 
taken place in the position of his affairs. The laced 
ccat and the cocked hat, where were they ? He still 



114 



OLIVER TWIST. 



wore knee-breeches, aiid dark cotton stockings on his 
nether limbs ; but they were not the breeches. The 
coat was wide-skirted ; and in that respect like the 
coat, but, oh, how different ! The mighty cocked hat 
was replaced by a modest round one. Mr. Bumble 
was no longer a beadle. 

There are some promotions in life, which, inde 
pendent of the more substantial rewards they offer, 
acquire peculiar value and dignity from the coats 
and waistcoats connected with them. A field-mar 
shal has his uniform ; a bishop his silk apron ; a 
counselor his silk gown ; a beadle his cocked hat. 
Strip the bishop of his apron, or the beadle of his 
hat and lace, what are they? Men. Mere men. 
Dignity, and even holiness too, sometimes, are more 
questions of coat and waistcoat than some people 
imagine. 

Mr. Bumble had married Mrs. Corney, and was 
master of the work -house. Another beadle had 
come into power. On him the cocked hat, gold- 
laced coat, and staff had all three descended. 

"And to-morrow two months it was done !" said 
Mr. Bumble, with a sigh. " It seems a age." 

Mr. Bumble might have meant that he had con 
centrated a whole existence of happiness into the 
short space of eight weeks ; but the sigh there was 
a vast deal of meaning in the sigh. 

" I sold myself," said Mr. Bumble, pursuing the 
same train of reflection, " for six tea-spoons, a pair 
of sugar-tongs, and a milk -pot, with a small quan 
tity of second-hand furniture, and twenty pound in 
money. I went very reasonable. Cheap, dirt cheap !" 

" Cheap !" cried a shrill voice in Mr. Bumble's ear : 
" you would have been dear at any price ; and dear 
enough I paid for you, Lord above knows that !" 

Mr. Bumble turned, and encountered the face of 
his interesting consort, who, imperfectly compre 
hending the few words she had overheard of his 
complaint, had hazarded the foregoing remark at a 
venture. 

"Mrs. Bumble, ma'am!" said Mr. Bumble, with 
sentimental sternness. 

" Well !" cried the lady. 

" Have the goodness to look at me," said Mr. Bum 
ble, fixing his eyes upon her. (" If she stands such a 
eye as that," said Mr. Bumble to himself, " she can 
stand any thing. It is a eye I never knew to fail 
with paupers. If it fails with her, my power is 
gone.") 

Whether an exceedingly small expansion of eye 
be sufficient to quell paupers, who, being lightly fed, 
are in no very high condition, or whether the late 
Mrs. Corney was particularly proof against eagle 
glances, are matters of opinion. The matter of fact 
is, that the matron was in no way overpowered by 
Mr. Bumble's scowl, but, on the contrary, treated it 
with great disdain, and even raised a laugh thereat 
which sounded as though it were genuine. 

On hearing this most unexpected sound, Mr. Bum 
ble looked, first incredulous, and afterward amazed. 
He then relapsed into his former state, nor did he 
rouse himself until his attention was again awakened 
by the voice of his partner. 

"Are you going to sit snoring there all day ?" in 
quired Mrs. Bumble. 

" I am going to sit here as long as I think proper, 



ma'am," rejoined Mr. Bumble ; " and although I was 
not snoring, I shall snore, gape, sneeze, laugh, or cry, 
as the humor strikes me ; such being my preroga 
tive." 

" Tour prerogative !" sneered Mrs. Bumble, with 
ineffable contempt. 

" I said the word, ma'am," said Mr. Bumble. " The 
prerogative of a man is to command." 

"And what's the prerogative of a woman, in the 
name of Goodness f ' cried the relict of Mr. Corney 
deceased. 

" To obey, ma'am," thundered Mr. Bumble. " Your 
late unfortunate husband should have taught it you ; 
and then, perhaps, he might have been alive now. I 
wish he was, poor man !" 

Mrs. Bumble seeing at a glance that the decisive 
moment had now arrived, and that a blow struck for 
the mastership on one side or other must necessarily 
be final and conclusive, no sooner heard this allusion 
to the dead and gone than she dropped into a chair, 
and with a loud scream that Mr. Bumble was a hard 
hearted brute, fell into a paroxysm of tears. 

But tears were not the things to find their way to 
Mr. Bumble's soul ; his heart was water-proof. Like 
washable beaver hats that improve with rain, his 
nerves were rendered stouter and more vigorous by 
showers of tears, which, being tokens of weakness, 
and so far tacit admissions of his own power, pleased 
and exalted him. He eyed his good lady with looks 
of great satisfaction, and begged, in an encouraging 
manner, that she should cry her hardest : the exer 
cise being looked upon by the faculty as strongly 
conducive to health. 

" It opens the lungs, washes the countenance, ex 
ercises the eyes, and softens down the temper," said 
Mr. Bumble. " So cry away." 

As he discharged himself of this pleasantry, Mr. 
Bumble took his hat from a peg, and putting it on, 
rather rakishly, on one side, as a man might who felt 
he had asserted his superiority in a becoming man 
ner, thrust his hands into his pockets, and sauntered 
toward the door, with much ease and waggishuess 
depicted in his whole appearance. 

Now, Mrs. Corney that was had tried the tears, 
because they were less troublesome than a manual 
assault ; but she was quite prepared to make trial 
of the latter mode of proceeding, as Mr. Bumble was 
not long in discovering. 

The first proof he experienced of the fact was con 
veyed in a hollow sound, immediately succeeded by 
the sudden flying off of his hat to the opposite end 
of the room. This preliminary proceeding laying 
bare his head, the expert lady, clasping him tightly 
round the throat with one hand, inflicted a shower 
of blows (dealt with singular vigor and dexterity) 
upon it with the other. This done, she created a 
little variety by scratching his face and tearing his 
hair ; and having, by this time, inflicted as much 
punishment as she deemed necessary for the offense, 
she pushed him over a chair, which was luckily well 
situated for the purpose, and defied him to talk about 
his prerogative again, if he dared. 

" Get up !" said Mrs. Bumble, in a voice of com 
mand. "And take yourself away from here, unless 
you want me to do something desperate." 

Mr. Bumble rose with a very rueful countenance, 



THE MIGHTY FALLEN. 



115 



wondering much what something desperate might 
be. Picking up his hat, he looked toward the door. 

"Are you going ?" demanded Mrs. Bumble. 

" Certainly, my dear, certainly," rejoined Mr. Bum 
ble, making a quicker motion toward the door. " I 
didn't intend to I'm going, my dear ! You are so 
very violent, that really I 

At this instant Mi's. Bumble stepped hastily for 
ward to replace the carpet, which had been kicked 
up in the scuffle. Mr. Bumble immediately darted 
out of the room, without bestowing another thought 
on his unfinished sentence, leaving the late Mrs. Cor- 
iiey in full possession of the field. 

Mr. Bumble was fairly taken by surprise, and fair 
ly beaten. He had a decided propensity for bully 
ing; derived no inconsiderable pleasure from the 
exercise of petty cruelty ; and, consequently, was (it 
is needless to say) a coward. This is by no means 
a disparagement to his character ; for many official 
personages, who are held in high respect and admi 
ration, are the victims of similar infirmities. The 
remark is made, indeed, rather in his favor than oth 
erwise, and with a view of impressing the reader 
with a just sense of his qualifications for office. 

But the measure of his degradation was not yet 
full.* After making a tour of the house, and think 
ing, for the first time, that the poor-laws really were 
too hard on people ; and that men who ran away 
from their wives, leaving them chargeable to the 
parish, ought, in justice, to be visited with no pun 
ishment at all, but rather rewarded as meritorious 
individuals who had suffered much ; Mr. Bumble 
came to a room where some of the female paupers 
were usually employed in washing the parish linen ; 
whence the sound of voices in conversation now pro 
ceeded. 

" Hem !" said Mr. Bumble, summoning up all his 
native dignity. " These women at least shall con 
tinue to respect the prerogative. Halloo ! halloo 
there ! What do you mean by this noise, you hus- 
sics ?" 

With these words, Mr. Bumble opened the door, 
and walked in with a very fierce and angry manner ; 
which was at once exchanged for a most humiliated 
and cowering air, as his eyes unexpectedly rested on 
the form of his lady wife. 

" My dear," said Mr. Bumble, " I didn't know you 
\vere here." 

" Didn't know I was here !" repeated Mrs. Bumble. 
" What do you do here f ' 

" I thought they were talking rather too much to 
be doing their work properly, my dear," replied Mr. 
Bumble, glancing distractedly at a couple of old 
women at the wash-tub, who were comparing notes 
of admiration at the work-house master's humility. 

" Ton thought they were talking too much ?" said 
Mrs. Bumble. " What business is it of yours ?" 

"Why, my dear " urged Mr. Bumble, submis 
sively. 

"What business is it of yours?" demanded Mrs. 
Bumble again. 

" It's very true, you're matron here, my dear," sub 
mitted Mr. Bumble ; " but I thought you mightn't be 
iu the way just then." 

" I'll tell you what, Mr. Bumble," returned his lady, 
" we don't want any of your interference. You're a 



great deal too fond of poking your nose into things 
that don't concern you, making every body in the 
house laugh the moment your back is turned, and 
making yourself look like a fool every hour in the 
day. Be off ; come !" 

Mr. Bumble, seeing with excruciating feelings the 
delight of the two old paupers, who were tittering 
together most rapturously, hesitated for an instant. 
Mrs. Bumble, whose patience brooked no delay, 
caught up a bowl of soap-suds, and motioning him 
toward the door, ordered him instantly to depart, on 
pain of receiving the contents upon his portly person. 

What could Mr. Bumble do ? He looked deject 
edly round, and slunk away ; and, as he reached the 
door, the titterings of the paupers broke into a shrill 
chuckle of irrepressible delight. It wanted but this. 
He was degraded in their eyes; he had lost caste 
and station before the very paupers ; he had fallen 
from all the height and pomp of beadleship to the 
lowest depth of the most snubbed hen-peckery. 

"All in two months !" said Mr. Bumble, filled with 
dismal thoughts. "Two months! No more than 
two months ago, I was not only my own master, but 
every body else's, so far as the porochial work-house 
was concerned, and now ! " 

It was too much. Mr. Bumble boxed the ears of 
the boy who opened the gate for him (for he had 
reached the portal in his reverie), and walked dis 
tractedly into the street. 

He walked up one street, and down another, until 
exercise had abated the first passion of his grief; 
and then the revulsion of feeling made him thirsty. 
He passed a great many public-houses, but at length 
paused before one in a by-way, whose parlor, as he 
gathered from a hasty peep over the blinds, was de 
serted, save by one solitary customer. It began to 
rain heavily at the moment. This determined him. 
Mr. Bumble stepped in, and, ordering something to 
drink as he pased the bar, entered the apartment 
into which he had looked from the street. 

The man who was seated there was tall and dark, 
and wore a large cloak. He had the air of a stranger, 
and seemed, by a certain haggardness in his look, as 
well as by the dusty soils on his dress, to have trav 
eled some distance. He eyed Bumble askance as he 
entered, but scarcely deigned to nod his head in ac 
knowledgment of his salutation. 

Mr. Bumble had quite dignity enough for two: 
supposing even that the stranger had been more fa 
miliar ; so he drank his gin-and- water in silence, and 
read the paper with great show of pomp and circum 
stance. 

It so happened, however, as it will happen very 
often when men fall into company under such cir 
cumstances, that Mr. Bumble felt every now and then 
a powerful inducement, which he could not resist, to 
steal a look at the stranger ; and that whenever he 
did so, he withdrew his eyes, in some confusion, to 
find that the stranger was at that moment stealing 
a look at him. Mr. Bumble's awkwardness was en 
hanced by the very remarkable expression of the 
stranger's eye, which was keen and bright, but shad 
owed by a scowl of distrust and suspicion, unlike 
any thing he had ever observed before, and repulsive 
to behold. 

When they had encountered each other's glance 



116 



OLIVER TWIST. 



several times in this way, the stranger, in a harsh, 
deep voice, broke silence. 

" Were you looking for me,' ; he said, " when you 
peered in at the window ?" 

" Not that I am aware of, unless you're Mr. 
Here Mr. Bumble stopped short ; for he was curious 
to know the stranger's name, and thought, in his im 
patience, he might supply the blank. 

"I see you were not," said the stranger, an ex 
pression of quiet sarcasm playing about his mouth ; 
"or you would have known my name. You don't 
know it. I would recommend you not to ask for it." 

" I meant no harm, young man," observed Mr. 
Bumble, majestically. 

"And have done none," said the stranger. 



looking keenly into Mr. Bumble's eyes as he raised 
them in astonishment at the question. " Don't scru 
ple to answer freely, man. I know you pretty well, 
you see." 

" I suppose, a married man," replied Mr. Bumble, 
shading his eyes with his hand, and surveying the 
stranger from head to foot in evident perplexity, " is 
not more averse to turning an honest penny when he 
can, than a single one. Porochial officers are not so 
well paid that they can afford to refuse any little 
extra fee, when it comes to them in a civil and prop 
er manner." 

The stranger smiled, and nodded his head again ; 
as much as to say, he had not mistaken his man ; 
then rang the bell. 




YOC LOOKING FOB ME," UE 8AII), "WHEN YOU PEERED IN AT TUB WIN 



Another silence succeeded this short dialogue, 
which was again broken by the stranger. 

" I have seen you before, I think ?" said he. " You 
were differently dressed at that time, and I only 
passed you in the street, but I should know you 
again. You were beadle here once, were you not ?" 

" I was," said Mr. Bumble, in some surprise " po- 
rochial beadle." 

" Just so," rejoined the other, nodding his head. " It 
was in that character I saw you. What are you now ?" 

" Master of the work-house," rejoined Mr. Bumble, 
slowly and impressively, to check any undue famil 
iarity the stranger might otherwise assume. " Mas 
ter of the work-house, young man !" 

" You have the same eye to your own interest that 
you always had, I doubt not T" resumed the stranger. 



" Fill this glass again," he said, handing Mr. Bmn- 
ble's empty tumbler to the landlord. "Let it be 
strong and hot. You like it so, I suppose ?" 

" Not too strong," replied Mr. Bumble, with a deli 
cate cough. 

" You understand what that means, landlord !'' 
said the stranger, dryly. 

The host smiled, disappeared, and shortly after 
ward returned with a steaming jorum, of which the 
first gulp brought the water into Mr. Bumble's eyes. 

" Now listen to me," said the stranger, after clos 
ing the door and window. "I came down to this 
place to-day to find you out ; and, by one of those 
chances which the devil throws in the way of his 
friends sometimes, you walked into the very room I 
was sitting in while you were uppermost in my mind. 



AXD HllS. BUMBLE. 



117 



I want some information from you. I don't ask you 
to give it for nothing, slight as it is. Put up that, 
to begin with." 

As he spoke, he pushed a couple of sovereigns 
across the table to his companion carefully, as though 
unwilling that the chinking of money should be heard 
without. When Mr. Bumble had scrupulously ex 
amined the coins, to see that they were genuine, and 
had put them up, with much satisfaction, in his 
waistcoat-pocket, he went on : 

" Carry your memory back let me see twelve 
years, last winter." 

" It's a long time," said Mr. Bumble. " Very good. 
I've done it." 

" The scene, the work-house." 

"Good!" 

" And the time, night." 

" Yes." 

"And the place, the crazy hole, wherever it was, 
in which miserable drabs brought forth the life and 
health so often denied to themselves gave birth to 
puling children for the parish to rear ; and hid their 
shame, rot 'em, in the grave." 

" The lying-in room, I suppose ?" said Mr. Bumble, 
not quite following the stranger's excited descrip 
tion. 

" Yes," said the stranger. "A boy was born 
there." 

"A many boys," observed Mr. Bumble, shaking his 
head despondingly. 

"A murrain on the young devils!" cried the 
stranger; "I speak of one; a meek -looking, pale- 
faced boy, who was apprenticed down here to a cof- 
tiu-maker I wish he had made his coffin, and screwed 
his body in it and who afterward ran away to Lon 
don, as it was supposed." 

" Why, you mean Oliver ! Young Twist !" said 
Mr. Bumble ; " I remember him, of course. There 
wasn't a obstinater young rascal " 

" It's not of him I want to hear ; I've heard enough 
of him," said the stranger, stopping Mr. Bumble in 
the outset of a tirade on the subject of poor Oliver's 
vices. " It's of a woman ; the hag that nursed bis 
mother. Where is she ?" 

" Where is she ?" said Mr. Bumble, whom the gin- 
und-water had rendered facetious. " It would be 
hard to tell. There's no midwifery there, which 
ever place she's gone to ; so I suppose she's out of 
employment, any way." 

" What do you mean ?" demanded the stranger, 
sternly. 

" That she died last winter," rejoined Mr. Bumble. 

The man looked fixedly at him when he had given 
this information ; and although he did not withdraw 
his eyes for some time afterward, his gaze gradually 
became vacant and abstracted, and he seemed lost 
in thought. For some time he appeared doubtful 
whether he ought to be relieved or disappointed by 
the intelligence ; but at length he breathed more 
freely, and, withdrawing his eyes, observed that it 
was no great matter. With that he rose, as if to 
depart. 

But Mr. Bumble was cunning enough ; and he at 
once saw that an opportunity was opened for the 
lucrative disposal of some secret in the possession of 
his better half. He well remembered the night of 



old Sally's death, which the occurrences of that day 
had given him good reason to recollect, as the occa 
sion on which he had proposed to Mrs. Corney ; and 
although that lady had never confided to him the 
disclosure of which she had been the solitary witness, 
he had heard enough to know that it related to some 
thing that had occurred in the old woman's attend 
ance, as work-house nurse, upon the young mother 
of Oliver Twist. Hastily calling this' circumstance 
to mind, he informed the stranger, with an air of 
mystery, that one woman had been closeted with the 
old harridan shortly before she died ; and that she 
could, as he had reason to believe, throw some light 
on the subject of his inquiry. 

" How can I find her f" said the stranger, thrown 
off his guard ; and plainly showing that all his fears 
(whatever they were) were aroused afresh by the in 
telligence. 

" Only through me," rejoined Mr. Bumble. 

" When ?" cried the stranger, hastily. 

" To-morrow," rejoined Bumble. 

"At nine in the evening/' said the stranger, pro 
ducing a scrap of paper, and writing down upon it 
an obscure address by the water-side, in characters 
that betrayed his agitation ; " at nine in the evening 
bring her to me there. I needn't tell you to be se 
cret. It's your interest." 

With these words, he led the way to the door, after 
stopping to pay for the liquor that had been drunk. 
Shortly remarking that their roads were different, 
he departed, without more ceremony than an ejn- 
phatic repetition of the hour of appointment for the 
following night. 

On glancing at the address, the parochial function 
ary observed that it contained no name. The stran 
ger had not gone far, so he made after him to ask it. 

"What do you want?" cried the man, turning 
quickly round, as Bumble touched him on the arm. 
" Following me !" 

" Only to ask a question," said the other, pointing 
to the scrap of paper. " What name am I to ask for ?" 

"Monks!" rejoined the man; and strode hastily 
away. 



CHAPTER XXXVin. 

CONTAINING AN ACCOUNT OF WHAT PASSED BETWEEN MR. 
AND MRS. BUMBLE AND MR. MONKS AT THEIR NOCTUR 
NAL INTERVIEW. 

IT was a dull, close, overcast summer evening. 
The clouds, which had been threatening all day. 
spread out in a dense and sluggish mass of vapor, 
already yielded large drops of rain, and seemed to 
presage a violent thunder-storm, when Mr. and Mrs. 
Bumble, turning out of the main street of the town, 
directed their course toward a scattered little colony 
of ruinous houses, distant from it some mile and a 
half, or thereabout, and erected on a low unwhole 
some swamp bordering upon the river. 

They were both wrapped in old and shabby outer 
garments, which might, perhaps, serve the double 
purpose of protecting their persons from the rain 
and sheltering them from observation. The husband 
carried a lantern, from which, however, no light yet 
shone, and trudged on a few paces in front, as though 



118 



OLIVER TWIST. 



the way being dirty to give his wife the benefit 
of treading in his heavy foot-prints. They went on 
in profound silence ; every now and then Mr. Bum 
ble relaxed his pace, and turned his head as if to 
make sure that Ms helpmate was following ; then 
discovering that she was close at his heels, he mend 
ed his rate of walking, and proceeded, at a considera 
ble increase of speed, toward their place of destination. 

This was far from being a place of doubtful char 
acter ; for it had long been known as the residence 
of none but low ruffians, who, under various pre 
tenses of living by their labor, subsisted chiefly on 
plunder and crime. It was a collection of mere hov 
els, some hastily built with loose bricks, others of 
old worm-eaten ship-timber, jumbled together with 
out any attempt at order or arrangement, and plant 
ed, for the most part, within a few feet of the river's 
bank. A few leaky boats drawn up on the mud, and 
made fast to the dwarf wall which skirted it ; and 
here and there an oar or coil of rope, appeared, at 
first, to indicate that the inhabitants of these miser 
able cottages pursued some avocation on the river ; 
but a glance at the shattered and useless condition 
of the articles thus displayed would have led a pass 
er-by, without much difficulty, to the conjecture that 
they were disposed there rather for the preservation 
of appearances than with any view to their being 
actually employed. 

In the heart of this cluster of huts, and skirting 
the river, which its upper stories overhung, stood a 
large building, formerly used as a manufactory of 
some kind. It had, in its day, probably furnished 
employment to the inhabitants of the surrounding 
tenements. But it had long since gone to ruin. The 
rat, the worm, and the action of the damp, had weak 
ened and rotted the piles on which it stood ; and a 
considerable portion of the building had already sunk 
down into the water ; while the remainder, tottering 
and bending over the dark stream, seemed to wait 
a favorable opportunity of following its old compan 
ion, and involving itself in the same fate. 

It was before this ruinous building that the wor 
thy couple paused, as the first peal of distant thun 
der reverberated in the air, and the rain commenced 
pouring violently down. 

" The place should be somewhere here," said Bum 
ble, consulting a scrap of paper he held in his hand. 

" Halloo there !" cried a voice from above. 

Following the sound, Mr. Bumble raised his head, 
and descried a man looking out of a door, breast- 
high, on the second story. 

" Stand still a minute," cried the voice ; " I'll be 
with you directly." With which the head disap 
peared,' and the door closed. 

" Is that the man ?" asked Mr. Bumble's good lady. 

Mr. Bumble nodded in the affirmative. 

" Then mind what I told yon," said the matron ; 
" and be careful to say as little as you can, or you'll 
betray us at once." 

Mr. Bumble, who had eyed the building with very 
rueful looks, was apparently about to express some 
doubts relative to the advisability of proceeding any 
farther with the enterprise just then, when he was 
prevented by the appearance of Monks, who opened 
a small door, near which they stood, and beckoned 
them inward. 



" Come in !" he cried, impatiently, stamping his 
foot upon the ground. " Don't keep me here !" 

The woman, who had hesitated at first, walked 
boldly in, without any other invitation. Mr. Bum 
ble, who was ashamed or afraid to lag behind, fol 
lowed ; obviously very ill at ease, and with scarcely 
any of that remarkable dignity which was usually 
his chief characteristic. 

" What the devil made you stand lingering there 
in the wet ?" said Monks, turning round and address 
ing Bumble, after he had bolted the door behind 
them. 

" We we were only cooling ourselves," stammer 
ed Bumble, looking apprehensively about him. 

" Cooling yourselves !" retorted Monks. " Not all 
the rain that ever fell, or ever will fall, will put as 
much of hell's fire out as a man can carry about 
with him. You won't cool yourselves so easily ; don't 
think it !" 

With this agreeable speech, Monks turned short 
upon the matron, and bent his gaze upon her, till 
even she, who was not easily cowed, was fain to 
withdraw her eyes, and turn them toward the ground. 

" This is the woman, is it ?" demanded Monks. 

" Hem ! That is the woman," replied Mr. Bumble, 
mindful of his wife's caution. 

" You think women never can keep secrets, I sup 
pose ?" said the matron, interposing, and returning, 
as she spoke, the searching look of Monks. 

" I know they will always keep one till it's found 
out," said Monks. 

" And what may that be ?" asked the matron. 

" The loss of their own good name," replied Monks. 
" So, by the same rule, if a woman's a party to a se 
cret that might hang or transport her, I'm not afraid 
of her telling it to any body ; not I ! Do you under 
stand, mistress ?" 

" No," rejoined the matron, slightly coloring as she 
spoke. 

" Of course you don't !" said Monks. " How should 
you?" 

Bestowing something half-way between a smile 
and a frown upon his two companions, and again 
beckoning them to follow him, the man hastened 
across the apartment, which was of considerable ex 
tent, but low in the roof. He was preparing to as 
cend a steep staircase, or rather ladder, leading to 
another floor of warehouses above, when a bright 
flash of lightning streamed down the aperture, and 
a peal of thunder followed, which shook the crazy 
building to its centre. 

" Hear it !" he cried, shrinking back. " Hear it ! 
Rolling and crashing on as if it echoed through a 
thousand caverns where the devils were hiding from 
it. I hate the sound !" 

He remained silent for a few moments ; and then, 
removing his hands suddenly from his face, showed, 
to the unspeakable discomposure of Mr. Bumble, that 
it was much distorted and discolored. 

" These fits come over me, now and then," said 
Monks, observing his alarm ; " and thunder some 
times brings them on. Don't mind me now ; it's all 
over for this once." 

Thus speaking, he led the way up the ladder ; and 
hastily closing the window-shutter of the room into 
which it led, lowered a lantern which hung at the 



MRS. BUMBLE MANAGES THE CONFERENCE. 



119 



end of a rope and pulley passed through one of the 
heavy beams in the ceiling ; and which cast a dim 
light upon an old table and three chairs that were 
placed beneath it. 

" Now," said Monks, when they had all three seat 
ed themselves, " the sooner we come to our business, 
the better for all. The woman knows what it is, 
does she ?" 

The question was addressed to Bumble; but his 
wife anticipated the reply, by intimating that she 
was perfectly acquainted with it. 

" He is right in saying that you were with this hag 
the night she died ; and that she told you something : 

"About the mother of the boy you named," replied 
the matron, interrupting him. " Yes." 

"The first question is, of what nature was her 
communication ?" said Monks. 

" That's the second," observed the woman, with 
much deliberation. "The first is, what may the 
communication be worth ?" 

"Who the devil can tell that, without knowing of 
what kind it is ?" asked Monks. 

" Nobody better than you, I am persuaded," an 
swered Mrs. Bumble ; who did not want for spirit, as 
her yoke-fellow could abundantly testify. 

" Humph !" said Monks significantly, and with a 
look of eager inquiry ; " there may be money's worth 
to get, eh f 

" Perhaps there may," was the composed reply. 

" Something that was taken from her," said Monks. 
" Something that she wore. Something that 

" You had better bid," interrupted Mrs. Bumble. 
" I have heard enough, already, to assure me that 
you are the man I ought to talk to." 

Mr. Bumble, who had not yet been admitted by 
his better half into any greater share of the secret 
than he had originally possessed, listened to this dia 
logue with outstretched neck and distended eyes; 
which he directed toward his wife and Monks, by 
turns, in undisguised astonishment; increased, if 
possible, when the latter sternly demanded what 
sum was required for the disclosure. 

"What's it worth to you?" asked the woman, as 
collectedly as before. 

" It may be nothing ; it may be twenty pounds," 
replied Monks. " Speak out, and let me know which." 

"Add five pounds to the sum you have named; 
give me five-and-twenty pounds in gold," said the 
woman, " and I'll tell you all I know. Not before." 

" Five -and -twenty pounds!" exclaimed Monks, 
drawing back. 

" I spoke as plainly as I could," replied Mrs. Bum 
ble. " It's not a large sum, either." 

" Not a large sum for a paltry secret that may be 
nothing when it's told !" cried Monks, impatiently ; 
"and which has been lying dead for twelve years 
past or more !" 

" Such matters keep well, and, like good wine, oft 
en double their value in course of time," answered 
the matron, still preserving the resolute indifference 
she had assumed. " As to lying dead, there are those 
who will lie dead for twelve thousand years to come, 
or twelve million, for any thing you or I know, who 
will tell strange tales at last !" 

" What if I pay it for nothing ?" asked Monks, hes 
itating. 



" You can easily take it away again," replied the 
matron. " I ain but a woman, alone here, and un 
protected." 

"Not alone, my dear, nor unprotected neither," 
submitted Mr. Bumble, in a voice tremulous with 
fear : "J am here, my dear. And besides," said Mr. 
Bumble, his teeth chattering as he spoke, "Mr. Monks 
is too much of a gentleman to attempt any violence 
on porochial persons. Mr. Monks is aware that I 
am not a young man, my dear, and also that I am a 
little run to seed, as I may say ; but he has heerd I 
say I have no doubt Mr. Monks has heerd, my dear 
that I am a very determined officer, with very un 
common strength, if I'm once roused. I only want 
a little rousing ; that's all." 

As Mr. Bumble spoke, he made a melancholy feint 
of grasping his lantern with fierce determination, 
and plainly showed, by the alarmed expression of ev 
ery feature, that he did want a little rousing, and not 
a little, prior to making any very warlike demonstra 
tion unless, indeed, against paupers, or other per 
son or persons trained down for the purpose. 

"You are a fool," said Mrs. Bumble, in reply; "and 
had better hold your tongue." 

" He had better have cut it out, before he came, if 
he can't speak in a lower tone," said Monks, grimly. 
" So ! He's your husband, eh ?" 

" He my husband !" tittered the matron, parrying 
the question. 

" I thought as much, when you came in," rejoined 
Monks, marking the angry glance which the lady 
darted at her spouse as she spoke. ""So much the 
better; I have less hesitation in dealing with two 
people, when I find that there's only one will be 
tween them. I'm in earnest. See here !" 

He thrust his hand into a side-pocket ; and pro 
ducing a canvas bag, told out twenty-five sovereigns 
on the table, and pushed them over to the woman. 

" Now," he said, " gather them up ; and when this 
cursed peal of thunder, which I feel is coming up 
to break over the house-top, is gone, let's hear your 
story." 

The thunder, which seemed in fact much nearer, 
and to shiver and break almost over their heads, 
having subsided, Monks, raising his face from the 
table, bent forward to listen to what the woman 
should say. The faces of the three nearly touched, 
as the two men leaned over the small table in their 
eagerness to hear, and the woman also leaned for 
ward to render her whisper audible. The sickly 
rays of the suspended lantern falling directly upon 
them, aggravated the paleness and anxiety of their 
countenances, which, encircled by the deepest gloom 
and darkness, looked ghastly in the extreme. 

"When this woman, that we called old Sally,died," 
the matron began, " she and I were alone." 

" Was there no one by ?" asked Monks, in the same 
hollow whisper; "no sick wretch or idiot in some 
other bed ? No one who could hear, and might, by 
possibility, understand f " 

" Not a soul," replied the woman ; " we were alone. 
/ stood alone beside the body when death came over 
it." 

"Good!" said Monks, regarding her attentively. 
" Go on." 

"She spoke of a young creature," resumed the 



120 



OLIVER TWIST. 



matron, " who had brought a child into the world 
some years before ; not merely in the same room, but 
in the same bed, in which she then lay dying." 

"Ay?" said Monks, with quivering lip, and glan 
cing over his shoulder. " Blood ! How things come 
about !" 

"The child was the one you named to him last 
night," said the matron, nodding carelessly toward 
her husband ; " the mother this nurse had robbed." 

" In life ?" asked Monks. 

" In death," replied the woman, with something 
like a shudder. " She stole from the corpse, when it 
had hardly turned to one, that which the dead moth 
er had prayed her, with her last breath, to keep for 
the infant's sake." 

" She sold it ?" cried Monks, with desperate eager 
ness ; " did she sell it ? Where ? When ? To whom ? 
How long before ?" 

"As* she told me, with great difficulty, that she 
had done this," said the matron, " she fell back and 
died." 

" Without saying more ?" cried Monks, in a voice 
which, from its very suppression, seemed only the 
more furious. " It's a lie ! I'll not be played with. 
She said more. I'll tear the life out of you both, but 
I'll know what it was." 

" She didn't utter another word," said the woman, 
to all appearance unmoved (as Mr. Bumble was very 
far from being) by the strange man's violence ; " but 
she clutched my gown violently with one hand, which 
was partly closed; and when I saw that she was 
dead, and sd removed the hand by force, I found it 
clasped a scrap of dirty paper." 

" Which contained " interposed Monks, stretch 
ing forward. 

" Nothing," replied the woman ; " it was a pawn 
broker's duplicate." 

" For what ?" demanded Monks. 

" In good time I'll tell you," said the woman. " I 
judge that she had kept the trinket for some time, 
iu the hope of turning it to better account, and then 
had pawned it ; and had saved or scraped together 
money to pay the pawnbroker's interest year by year, 
and prevent its running out; so that if any thing 
came of it, it could still be redeemed. Nothing had 
come of it ; and, as I. tell you, she died with the scrap 
of paper, all worn and tattered, in her hand. The 
time was out in two days; I thought something 
might one day come of it too, and so redeemed the 
pledge." 

"Where is it now ?" asked Monks, quickly. 

" There" replied the woman. And, as if glad to 
be relieved of it, she hastily threw upon the table a 
.small kid bag scarcely large enough for a French 
watch, which Monks pouncing upon, tore open with 
trembling hands. It contained a little gold locket, 
in which were two locks of hair and a plain gold 
wedding-ring. 

" It has the word ' Agnes ' engraved on the in- 
wide," said the woman. " There is a blank left for 
the surname; and then follows the date, which is 
within a year before the child was born. I found 
out that," 

" And this is all ?" said Monks, after a close and 
eager scrutiny of the contents of the little packet. 

"All," replied the woman. 



Mr. Bumble drew a long breath, as if he were glad 
to find that the story was over, and no mention 
made of taking the tive-and-twenty pounds back 
again ; and now he toek courage to wipe off the per 
spiration which had been trickling over his nose un 
checked during the whole of the previous dialogue. 

" I know nothing of the story beyond what I can 
guess at," said his wife, addressing Monks, after a 
short silence, " and I want to know nothing ; for it's 
safer not. But I may ask you two questions, may I F 

" You may ask," said Monks, with some show of 
surprise ; " but whether I answer or not is another 
question." 

" Which makes three," observed Mr. Bumble, 
essaying a stroke of facetiousness. 

" Is that what you expected to get from me ?" de 
manded the matron. 

" It is," replied Monks. " The other question ?" 

" What you propose to do with it ? Can it be used 
against me ?" 

" Never," rejoined Monks, " nor against me either. 
See here ! But don't move a step forward, or your 
life is not worth a bulrush." 

With these words, he suddenly wheeled the table 
aside, and pulling an iron ring in the boarding, 
threw back a large trap-door which opened close at 
Mr. Bumble's feet, and caused that gentleman to re 
tire several paces backward with great precipitation. 

" Look down," said Monks, lowering the lantern 
into the gulf. " Don't fear me. I could have let 
you down, quietly enough, when you were seated 
| over it, if that had been my game." 

Thus encouraged, the matron drew near to the 
brink ; and even Mr. Bumble himself, impelled by 
curiosity, ventured to do the same. The turbid 
water, swollen by the heavy rain, was rushing rapid 
ly on below ; and all other sounds were lost iu the 
noise of its plashing and eddying against the green 
and slimy piles. There had once been a water-mill 
beneath ; the tide, foaming and chafing round the 
few rotten stakes and fragments of machinery that 
yet remained, seemed to dart onward, with a new 
impulse, when freed from the obstacles which had 
unavailingly attempted to stem its headlong course. 

" If you flung a man's body down there, where 
would it be to-morrow morning ?" said Monks, 
swinging the lantern to and fro in the dark well. 

" Twelve miles down the river, and cut to pieces 
besides," replied Bumble, recoiling at the thought. 

Monks drew the little packet from his breast, 
where he had hurriedly thrust it, and tying it to a 
leaden weight), which had formed a part of some 
pulley and was lying on the floor, dropped it into 
the stream. It fell straight, and true as a die, clove * 
the water with a scarcely audible splash, and was 
gone. 

The three, looking into each other's faces, seemed 
to breathe more freely. 

" There !" said Monks, closing the trap-door, which 
fell heavily back into its former position. " If the 
sea ever gives up its dead, as books say it will, it 
will keep its gold and silver to itself, and that trash 
among it. We have nothing more to say, and may 
break up our pleasant party." 

" By all means," observed Mr. Bumble, with great 
alacrity. 



MR. SIRES AND HIS NURSE. 



121 



" You'll keep a quiet tongue in your head, will 
you ?" said Monks, with a threatening look. I'm not 
afraid of your wife." 

" You may depend upon me, young man," answered 
Mr. Bumble, bowing himself gradually toward the 
ladder with excessive politeness. " On every body's 
account, young man; 011 my own, you know, Mr. 
Monks." ' 

" I am glad, for your sake, to hear it," remarked 
Monks. " Light your lantern, and get away from 
here as fast as you can." 

It was fortunate that the conversation terminated 
at this point, or Mr. Bumble, who had bowed himself 
to within six inches of the ladder, would infallibly 
have pitched headlong into the room below. He 
lighted his lantern from that which Monks had de 
tached from the rope and now carried in his hand ; 
and, making no effort to prolong the discourse, de 
scended in silence, followed by his wife. Monks 
brought up the rear, after pausing on the steps to 
satisfy himself that there were no other sounds to be 
heard than the beating of the rain without, and the 
rushing of the water. 

They traversed the lower room slowly, and with 
caution, for Monks started at every shadow; and 
Mr. Bumble, holding his lantern a foot above the 
ground, walked not only with remarkable care, but 
with a marvelously light step for a gentleman of his 
h'gure, looking nervously about him fbr hidden trap 
doors. The gate at which they had entered was 
softly unfastened and opened by Monks ; merely ex 
changing a nod with their mysterious acquaintance, 
the married couple emerged into the wet and dark 
ness outside. 

They were no sooner gone than Monks, who ap 
peared to entertain an invincible repugnance to be 
ing left alone, called to a boy who had been hidden 
somewhere below. Bidding him go first and bear 
the light, he rerarued to the chamber he had just 
quitted. 



CHAPTER XXXIX. 

INTRODUCES SOME RESPECTABLE CHARACTERS WITH 
WHOM THE READER IS ALREADY ACQUAINTED, AND 
SHOWS HOW MONKS AND THE JEW LAID THEIR 
WORTHY HEADS TOGETHER. 

ON the evening following that upon which the 
three worthies mentioned in the last chapter 
disposed of their little matter of business as therein 
narrated, Mr. William Sikes, awakening from a nap, 
drowsily growled forth an inquiry what time of 
night it was. 

The room in which Mr. Sikes propounded this 
question was not one of those he had tenanted pre 
vious to the Chertsey expedition, although it was in 
the same quarter of the town, and was situated at 
no great distance from his former lodgings. It was 
not, in appearance, so desirable a habitation as his 
old quarters, being a mean and badly -furnished 
apartment, of very limited size, lighted only by one 
small window in the shelving roof, and abutting on 
a close and dirty lane. Nor were there wanting oth 
er indications of the good gentleman's having gone 
down in the world of late ; for a great scarcity of 



furniture, and total absence of comfort, together 
with the disappearance of all such small movables 
as spare clothes and linen, bespoke a state of ex 
treme poverty, while the meagre and attenuated 
condition of Mr. Sikss himself would have fully con 
firmed these symptoms, if they had stood in any need 
of corroboration. 

The house-breaker was lying on the bed, wrapped 
in his white great-coat, by way of dressing-gown, and 
displaying a set of features in no degree improved 
by the cadaverous hue of illness, and the addition 
of a soiled night-cap, and a stiff black beard of a 
week's growth. The dog sat at the bedside, now 
eying his master with a wistful look, and now prick 
ing his ears and uttering a low growl as some noise 
in the street, or in the lower part of the house, at 
tracted his attention. Seated by the window, busi 
ly engaged in patching an old waistcoat which form 
ed a portion of the robber's ordinary dress, was a fe 
male, so pale and reduced with watching and pri 
vation, that there would have been considerable dif 
ficulty in recognizing her as the same Nancy who 
has already figured in this tale, but for the voice in 
which she replied to Mr. Sikes's question. 

" Not long gone seven," said the girl. " How do 
you feel to-night, Bill ?" 

"As weak as water," replied Mr. Sikes, with an 
imprecation on his eyes and limbs. "Here, lend us 
a hand, and let me get off this thundering bed, any 
how." 

Illness had not improved Mr. Sikes's temper ; for, 
as the girl raised him up and led him to a chair, he 
muttered various curses on her awkwardness, and 
struck her. 

" Whining, are you?" said Sikes. "Come? don't 
stand sniveling there. If you can't do any thing 
better than that, cut off altogether. D'ye hear me ?" 

"I hear you," replied the girl, turning her face- 
aside, and forcing a laugh. " What fancy have you 
got in your head now ?" 

" Oh ! you've thought better of it, have you ?" 
growled Sikes, marking the tear which trembled in 
her eye. "All the better for you, you have." 

" WTiy, you don't mean to say you'd be hard upon 
me to-night, Bill," said the girl, laying her hand upon 
his shoulder. 

" No !" cried Mr. Sikes. " Why not ?" 

" Such a number of nights," said the girl, with a 
touch of woman's tenderness which communicated 
something like sweetness of tone even to her voice, 
" such a number of nights as I've been patient with 
you, nursing and caring for you, as if you'd boon a 
child ; and this the first that I've seen you like 
yourself you wouldn't have served me as you did 
just now, if you'd thought of that, would you? 
Come, come ; say you wouldn't." 

" Well, then," rejoined Mr. Sikes, " I wouldn't. 
Why, damme, now the girl's whining again !" 

" It's nothing," said the girl, throwing herself into 
a chair. " Don't you seem to mind me. It'll soon 
be over." 

" What'll be over ?" demanded Mr. Sikes, in a sav 
age votee. " What foolery are you up to now again ? 
Get up and bustle about, and don't come over me 
with your woman's nonsense." 

At any other time this remonstrance, and the tone 



122 



OLIVER TWIST. 



in which it was delivered, would have had the de 
sired effect ; but the girl being really weak and ex 
hausted, dropped her head over the back of the 
chair and fainted, before Mr. Sikes could get out a 
few of the appropriate oaths with which, oil similar 
occasions, he was accustomed to garnish his threats. 
Not knowing very well what to do, in this uncom 
mon emergency for Miss Nancy's hysterics were 
usually of that violent kind which the patient fights 
and struggles out of without much assistance Mr. 
Sikes tried a little blasphemy; and finding that 
mode of treatment wholly ineffectual, called for as 
sistance. 

" What's the matter here, my dear ?" said Fagin, 
looking in. 

" Lend a hand to the girl, can't you ?" replied 
Sikes, impatiently. " Don't stand chattering and 
grinning at me !" 

With an exclamation of surprise, Fagin hastened 
to the girl's assistance, while Mr. John Dawkins (oth 
erwise the Artful Dodger), who had followed his 
venerable friend into the room, hastily deposited on 
the floor a bundle with which he was laden ; and, 
snatching a bottle from the grasp of Master Charles 
Bates, who came close at his heels, uncorked it in a 
twinkling with his teeth, and poured a portion of 
its contents down the patient's throat, previously 
taking a taste himself, to prevent mistakes. 

" Give her a whiff of fresh air with the bellows, 
Charley," said Mr. Dawkins, "and you slap her 
hands, Fagin, while Bill undoes the petticuts." 

These united restoratives, administered with great 
energy especially that department consigned to 
Master Bates, who appeared to consider his share in 
the proceedings a piece of unexampled pleasantry - 
were not long in producing the desired effect. The 
girl gradually recovered her senses; and, staggering 
to a chair by the bedside, hid her face upon the pil 
low, leaving Mr. Sikes to confront the new-comers in 
some astonishment at their unlooked-for appearance. 

" Why, what evil wind has blowed you here ?" he 
asked Fagin. 

" No evil wind at all, my dear, for evil winds blow 
nobody any good ; and I've brought something good 
with me, that you'll be glad to see. Dodger, my 
dear, open the bundle, and give Bill the little trifles 
that we spent all our money on this morning." 

In compliance with Mr. Fagin's request, the Artful 
untied his bundle, which was of large size and form 
ed of an old table-cloth, and handed the articles it 
contained, one by one, to Charley Bates, who placed 
them on the table, with various encomiums on their 
rarity and excellence. 

" Sitch a rabbit-pie, Bill !" exclaimed that young 
gentleman, disclosing to view a huge pasty ; " sitch 
delicate creeturs, with sitch tender limbs, Bill, that 
the wery bones melt in your mouth and there's no 
occasion to pick 'em ; half a pound of seven-and-six- 
penuy green, so precious strong that if you mix it 
with boiling water, it'll go nigh to blow the lid of 
the tea-pot off; a pound and a half of moist sugar 
that the niggers didn't work at all at, afore they got 
it up to sitch a pitch of goodness oh no ! Tfc'o half- 
quartern brans ; pound of best fresh ; piece of double 
Glo'ster ; and, to wind up all, some of the richest sort 
you ever lushed !" 



Uttering this last panegyric, Master Bates pro 
duced from one of his extensive pockets a full-sized 
wine-bottle, carefully corked, Avhile Mr. Dawkins, at 
the same instant, poured out a wine-glassful of raw 
spirits from the bottle he carried, which the invalid 
tossed down his throat without a moment's hesita 
tion. 

"Ah!" said Fagin, rubbing his hands with great 
satisfaction. " You'll do, Bill ; you'll do now." 

" Do !" exclaimed Mr. Sikes ; " I might have been 
done for twenty times over afore you'd have done 
any thing to help me. What do you mean by leav 
ing a man in this state three weeks and more, you 
false-hearted wagabond ?" 

" Only hear him, boys !" said Fagin, shrugging his 
shoulders. "And us come to bring him all these 
beau-ti-ful things." 

"The things is well enough in their way," ob 
served Mr. Sikes, a little soothed, as he glanced over 
the table ; " but what have you got to say for your 
self, why you should leave me here down in the 
mouth, health, blunt, and every thing else, and take 
no more notice of me all this mortal time than if I 
was that 'ere dog ? Drive him down, Charley !" 

" I never see such a jolly dog as that !" cried Mas 
ter Bates, doing as he was desired. " Smelling the 
grub like a old lady a-going to market ! He'd make 
his fortun on the stage, that dog would, and rewive 
the drayma besides." 

" Hold your din !" cried Sikes, as the dog retreated 
under the bed, still growling angrily. " What have 
you got to say for yourself, you withered old fence, 
eh?" 

"I was away from London a week and more, my 
dear, on a plant," replied the Jew. 

"And what about the other fortnight ?" demanded 
Sikes. " What about the other fortnight that you've 
left me lying here, like a sick rat in his hole ?" 

" I couldn't help it, Bill. I can*t go into a long 
explanation before company ; but I couldn't help it, 
upon my honor." 

" Upon your what?" growled Sikes, with excessive 
disgust. " Here ! Cut me off a piece of that pie, 
one of you boys, to take the taste of that out of my 
mouth, or it'll choke me dead." 

" Don't be out of temper, my dear," urged Fagin, 
submissively. " I have never forgot you, Bill, never 
once." 

"No ! I'll pound it that you han't," replied Sikes, 
with a bitter grin. "You've been scheming and 
plotting away every hour that I have laid shivering 
and burning here ; and Bill was to do this, and Bill 
was to do that, and Bill was to do it, all, dirt cheap, 
as soon as he got well, and was quite poor enough 
for your work. If it hadn't been for the girl, I might 
have died." 

"There now, Bill," remonstrated Fagin, eagerly 
catching at the word. "If it hadn't been for the 
girl ! Who but poor ould Fagin was the means of 
your halving such a handy girl about you ?" 

" He says true enough there," said Nancy, coming 
hastily forward. " Let him be ; let him be." 

Nancy's appearance gave a new turn to the con 
versation ; for the boys, receiving a sly wink from 
the wary old Jew, began to ply her with liquor, of 
which, however, she took very sparingly ; while Fa- 



MR. CHITLING'S OPINION OF MR. CRACKIT. 



123 



gin, assuming an unusual flow of spirits, gradually 
brought Mr. Sikes into a better temper, by affecting 
to regasd his threats as a little pleasant banter, and, 
moreover, by laughing very heartily at one or two 
rough jokes, which, after repeated applications to 
the spirit-bottle, he condescended to make. 

" It's all very well," said Mr. Sikes ; " but I must 
have some blunt from you to-night." 

" I haven't a piece of coin about me," replied the 
Jew. 

"Then you've got lots at home," retorted Sikes; 
" and I must have some from there." 

" Lots !" cried Fagin, holding up his hands. " I 
haven't so much as would " 

" I don't know how much you've got, and I dare 
say you hardly know yourself, as it would take a 
pretty long time to count it," said Sikes, "but I 
must have some to-night ; and that's flat." 

"Well, well," said Fagin, with a sigh, "I'll send 
the Artful round presently." 

" You won't do nothing of the kind," rejoined Mr. 
Sikes. " The Artful's a deal too artful, and would 
forget to come, or lose his way, or get dodged by 
traps, and so be perwented, or any thing for an ex 
cuse, if you put him up to it. Nancy shall go to the 
ken and fetch it, to make all sure ; and I'll lie down 
and have a snooze while she's gone." 

After a great deal of haggling and squabbling, Fa- 
gin beat down the amount of the required advance 
from five pounds to three pounds four-and-sixpence, 
protesting, with many solemn asseverations, that that 
would only leave him eighteen-peuce to keep house 
with ; Mr. Sikes sullenly remarking that if he couldn't 
get any more he must be content with that, Nancy 
prepared to accompany him home, while the Dodger 
and Master Bates put the eatables in the cupboard. 
The Jew then, taking leave of his affectionate friend, 
returned homeward, attended by Nancy and the boys : 
Mr. Sikes, meanwhile, flinging himself on the bed, 
and composing himself to sleep away the time until 
the young lady's return. 

In due course they arrived at Fagin's abode, where 
they found Toby Crackit and Mr. Chitling intent 
upon their fifteenth game at cribbage, which it is 
scarcely necessary to say the latter gentleman lost, 
and with it, his fifteenth and last sixpence, much to 
the amusement of his young friends. Mr. Crackit, 
apparently somewhat ashamed at being found relax 
ing himself with a gentleman so much his inferior in 
station and mental endowments, yawned, and inquir 
ing after Sikes, took up his hat to go. 

" Has nobody been, Toby ?" asked Fagin. 

" Not a living leg," answered Mr. Crackit, pulling 
up his collar ; " it's been as dull as swipes. You 
ought to stand something handsome, Fagin, to rec 
ompense me for keeping house so long. Damme, I'm 
as flat as a juryman ; and should have gone to sleep 
as fast as Newgate, if I hadn't had the good natur' 
to amuse this youngster. Horrid dull, I'm blessed 
if I ain't!" 

With these and other ejaculations of the same 
kind, Mr. Toby Crackit swept up his winnings, and 
crammed them into his waistcoat .-pocket with a 
haughty air, as though such small pieces of silver 
were wholly beneath the consideration of a man of 
his figure ; this done, he swaggered out of the room 



with so much elegance and gentility, that Mr. Chit- 
ling, bestowing numerous admiring glances on his 
legs and boots till they were out of sight, assured 
the company that he considered his acquaintance 
cheap at fifteen sixpences an interview, and that he 
didn't value his losses the snap of his little finger. 

"Wot a rum chap you are, Tom!" said Master 
Bates, highly amused by this declaration. 

"Not a bit of it," replied Mr. Chitling. "Am I, 
Fagin?" 

"A very clever fellow, my dear," said Fagiu, pat 
ting him on the shoulder, and winking to his other 
pupils. 

"And Mr. Crackit is a heavy swell; ain't he, Fa- 
gin ?" asked Tom. 

" No doubt at all of that, my dear." 

"And it i a creditable thing to have his acquaint 
ance ; ain't it, Fagin ?" pursued Tom. 

"Very much so, indeed, my dear. They're only 
jealous, Tom, because he won't give it to them." 

"Ah!" cried Tom, triumphantly, "that's where it 
is ! He has cleaned me out. But I can go and earn 
some more when I like ; can't I, Fagin ?" 

" To be sure you can, and the sooner you go the 
better, Tom; so make up your loss at once, and 
don't lose any more time. Dodger! Charley! It's 
time you were on the lay. Come! It's near ten, 
and nothing done yet." 

In obedience to this hint, the boys, nodding to 
Nancy, took up their hats and left the room ; the 
Dodger and his vivacious friend indulging, as they 
went, in many witticisms at the expense of Mr. Chit- 
ling ; in whose conduct, it is but justice to say, there 
was nothing very conspicuous or peculiar, inasmuch 
as there are a great number of spirited young bloods 
upon town who pay a much higher price than Mr. 
Chitling for being seen in good society, and a great 
number of fine gentlemen (composing the good so 
ciety aforesaid) who establish their reputation upon 
very much the same footing as flash Toby Crackit. 

" Now," said Fagin, when they had left the room, 
" I'll go and get you that cash, Nancy. This is only 
the key of a little cupboard where I keep a few odd 
things the boys get, my dear. I never lock up my 
money, for I've got none to lock up, my dear ha ! 
ha ! ha ! none to lock up. It's a poor trade, Nancy, 
and no thanks; but I'm fond of seeing the young 
people about me, and I bear it all, I bear it all. 
Hush!" he said, hastily concealing the key in his 
breast; "who's that? Listen!" 

The girl, who was sitting at the table with her 
arms folded, appeared in no way interested in the 
arrival, or to care whether the person, whoever he 
'was, came or went, until the murmur of a man's 
voice reached her ears. The instant she caught the 
sound, she tore off her bonnet and shawl with the 
rapidity of lightning, and thrust them under the ta 
ble. The Jew, turning round immediately after 
ward, she muttered a complaint of the heat in a tone 
of languor that contrasted very remarkably with the 
extreme haste and violence of this action, which, 
however, had been unobserved by Fagin, who had 
his back toward her at the time. 

"Bah!" he whispered, as though nettled by the 
interruption ; " it's the man I expected before ; he's 
coming down stairs. Not a word about the money 



124 



OLIVER TWIST. 



while he's here, Nance. He won't stop long. Not 
ten minutes, my clear." 

Laying his skinny forefinger upon his lip, the Jew 
(iu-iied a candle to the door, as a man's step was 
heard upon the stairs without. He reached it at 
the same moment as the visitor, who, coming hastily 
into the room, was close upon the girl before he ob 
served her. 

It was Monks. 

" Only one of my young people," said Fagin, ob- ' 
serving that Monks drew back on beholding a stran 
ger. " Don't move, Nancy." 

The girl drew closer to the table, and glancing at 
Monks with an air of careless levity, withdrew her 
eyes ; but as he turned his toward Fagin, she stole 
another look, so keen and searching, and full of pur 
pose, that if there had been any by-stander to ob 
serve the change, he could hardly have believed the 
two looks to have proceeded from the same person. 

" Any news ?" inquired Fagiu. 

"Great." 

"And and good?" asked Fagin, hesitating as 
though he feared to vex the other man by being too 
sanguine. 

" Not bad, any way," replied Monks, with a smile. 
" I have been prompt enough this time. Let me 
have a word with you." . 

The girl drew closer to the table, and made no of 
fer to leave the room, although she could see that 
Monks was pointing to her. The Jew, perhaps fear 
ing she might say something aloud about the mon 
ey if he endeavored to get rid of her, pointed up 
ward, and took Monks out of the room. 

" Not that infernal hole we were in before," she 
could hear the man say as they went up stairs. Fa- 
gin laughed ; and making some reply which did not 
reach her, seemed, by the creaking of the boards, to 
lead his companion to the second story. 

Before the sound of their footsteps had ceased to 
echo through the house, the girl had slipped off her 
shoes ; and drawing her gown loosely over her head, 
and muffling her arms in it, stood at the door, listen 
ing with breathless interest. The moment the noise 
ceased, she glided from the room, ascended the stairs 
with incredible softness and silence, and was lost in 
the gloom above. 

The room remained deserted for a quarter of an 
hour or more; the girl glided back with the same 
unearthly tread; and, immediately afterward, the 
two men were heard descending. Monks went at 
once into the street, and the Jew crawled up stairs 
again for the money. When he returned, the girl 
was adj listing her shawl and bonnet, as if preparing 
to be gone. 

" Why, Nance," exclaimed the Jew, starting back 
as he put down the candle, " how pale you are !" 

" Pale !" echoed the girl, shading her eyes with her 
hands, as if to look steadily at him. 

"Quite horrible! What have you been doing to 
yourself?" 

' Nothing that I know of, except sitting in this 
close place for I don't know how long and all," re 
plied the girl, carelessly. " Come ! Let me get back ; 
that's a dear." 

With a sigh for every piece of money, Fagin told 
the amount into her hand. They parted without 



more conversation, merely interchanging a "good 
night," 

When the girl got into the open street, she sat 
down upon a door -step, and seemed for a few mo- 
incuts wholly bewildered, and unable to pursue her 
way. Suddenly she arose ; and hurrying on in a 
direction quite opposite to that in which Sikes was 
awaiting her return, quickened her pace, until it 
gradually resolved into a violent run. After com 
pletely exhausting herself, she stopped to take 
breath ; and, as if suddenly recollecting herself, and 
deploring her inability to do something she was bent 
upon, wrung her hands and burst into tears. 

It might be that her tears relieved her, or that she 
felt the full hopelessness of her condition ; but she 
turned back, and hurrying with nearly as great ra 
pidity in the contrary direction, partly to recover 
lost time, and partly to keep pace with the violent 
current of her own thoughts, soon reached the dwell 
ing where she had left the house-breaker. 

If she betrayed any agitation when she presented 
herself to Mr. Sikes, he did not observe it ; for mere 
ly inquiring if she had brought the money, and re 
ceiving a reply in the affirmative, he uttered a growl 
of satisfaction, and replacing his head upon the pil 
low, resumed the slumbers which her arrival had in 
terrupted. 

It was fortunate for her that the possession of 
money occasioned him so much employment next 
day in the way of eating and drinking, and withal 
had so beneficial an effect in smoothing down the as 
perities of his temper, that he had neither time nor 
inclination to be very critical upon her behavior and 
deportment. That she had all the abstracted and 
nervous manner of one who is on the eve of some 
bold and hazardous step which it has required no 
common struggle to resolve upon, would have been 
obvious to the lynx-eyed Fagin, who would most 
probably have taken the alarm at once ; but Mr. 
Sikes lacking the niceties of discrimination, and be 
ing troubled with no more subtle misgivings than 
those wliich resolve themselves into a dogged rough 
ness of behavior toward every body ; and being, fur 
thermore, in an unusually amiable condition, as has 
been already observed, saw nothing unusual in her 
demeanor, and, indeed, troubled himself so little 
about her, that, had her agitation been far more per 
ceptible than it was, it Avould have been very un 
likely to have awakened his suspicions. 

As that day closed in, the girl's excitement in 
creased ; and, when night came on, and she sat by, 
watching until the house-breaker should drink him 
self asleep, there was an unusual paleness in her 
cheek, and a fire iu her eye, that even Sikes observed 
with astonishment. 

Mr. Sikes being weak from the fever, was lying in 
bed, taking hot water with his gin to render it less 
inflammatory, and had pushed his glass toward Nan 
cy to be replenished for the third or fourth time, 
when these symptoms first struck him. 

" Why, burn my body!" said the man, raising him 
self on his hands as he stared the girl in the face. 
" You look like a corpse come to life again. What'.s 
the matter ?" 

" Matter !" replied the girl. " Nothing. What do 
vou look at me so hard for ?" 



A COMPOSING DRAUGHT. 



125 



" What foolery is this ?" demanded Sikes, grasping 
her by the arm aiid shaking her roughly. " What is 
it ? What do you mean f What are you thinking of ?" 

" Of many things, Bill," replied the girl, shivering, 
and, as she did so, pressing her hands upon her eyes. 
" But, Lord ! What odds in that ?'' 

The tone of forced gayety in which the last words 
were spoken seemed to produce a deeper impression 
on Sikes than the wild and rigid look which had 
preceded them. 

" I tell you wot it is," said Sikes ; " if you haven't 
caught the fever, and got it comiu' on now, there's 
something more than usual in the wind, and some- 



" Now," said the robber, " come and sit aside 
of me, and put on your own face, or I'll alter it 
so that you won't know it again when you do want 
it." 

The girl obeyed. Sikes, locking her hand in his, 
fell back upon the pillow, turning his eyes upon her 
face. They closed, opened again, closed once more, 
again opened. He shifted his position restlessly, and 
after dozing again and again for two or three min 
utes, and as often springing up with a look of terror 
and gazing vacantly about him, was suddenly strick 
en, as it were, while in the very attitude of rising, 
into a deep and heavy sleep. The grasp of his hand 




"THEN, STOOPING SOFTLY OVEB TUB BED, SHE KISSKD TIII 



thing dangerous too. You're not a-going to No, 
damme ! you wouldn't do that !" 

" Do what ?" asked the girl. 

" There ain't," said Sikes, fixing his eyes upon her, 
and muttering the words to himself; "there ain't 
a stauncher-hearted gal going, or I'd have cut her 
throat three months ago. She's got the fever com 
ing on ; that's it." 

Fortifying himself with this assurance, Sikes 
drained the glass to the bottom, and then, with 
many grumbling oaths, called for his physic. The 
girl jumped up with great alacrity, poured it quick 
ly out, but with her back toward him, and held the 
vessel to his lips, while he drank off the contents. 



relaxed, the upraised arm fell languidly by his side, 
and he lay like one in a profound trance. 

" The laudanum has taken effect at last," murmur 
ed the girl, as she rose from the bedside. " I may he 
too late, even now." 

She hastily dressed herself in her bonnet and 
shawl, looking fearfully round from time to time, as 
if, despite the sleeping draught, she expected every 
moment to feel the pressure of Sikes's heavy haud 
upon her shoulder; then, stooping softly over the 
bed, she kissed the robber's lips, and then opening 
and closing the room-door with noiseless touch, hur 
ried from the house. 

A watchman was crying half-past nine, down a 



126 



OLIVER TWIST. 



dark passage through Avhich she had to pass in gaiii- 
iiig the main thoroughfare. 

" Has it long gone the half hour ?" asked the girl. 

" It'll strike the hour in another quarter," said the 
man, raising his lantern to her face. 

"And I can not get there in less than an hour or 
more," muttered Nancy, brushing swiftly past him, 
and gliding rapidly down the street. 

Many of the shops were already closing in the 
back lanes and avenues through which she tracked 
her way in making from Spitalfields toward the West- 
End of London. The clock struck ten, increasing 
her impatience. She tore along the narrow pave 
ment, elbowing the passengers from side to side, 
and darting almost under the horses' heads ; crossed 
crowded streets, where clusters of persons were ea 
gerly watching their opportunity to do the like. 

" The woman is mad !" said the people, turning to 
look after her as she rushed away. 

When she reached the more wealthy quarter of 
the town, the streets were comparatively deserted ; 
and here her headlong progress excited a still great 
er curiosity in the stragglers whom she hurried past. ' 
Some quickened their pace behind, as though to see 
w r hither she was hastening at such an unusual rate, 
and a few made head upon her, and looked back, 
surprised at her undimiuished speed ; but they fell 
off one by one, and when she neared her place of des 
tination she was alone. 

It was a family hotel in a quiet but handsome 
street near Hyde Park. As the brilliant light of the 
lamp which burned before its door guided her to the 
spot, the clock struck eleven. She had loitered for 
a few paces as though irresolute, and making up her 
mind to advance, but the sound determined her, and 
she stepped into the hall. The porter's seat was va 
cant. She looked round with an air of incertitude, 
and advanced toward the stairs. 

" Now, young woman !" said a smartly-dressed fe 
male, looking out from a door behind her, " who do 
you want here ?" 

" A lady who is stopping in this house," answered 
the girl. 

"A lady!" was the reply, accompanied with a 
scornful look. " What lady f ' 

" Miss Maylie," said Nancy. 

The young woman, who had by this time noted 
her appearance, replied only by a look of virtuous 
disdain, and summoned a man to answer her. To 
him Nancy repeated her request. 

" W T hat name am I to say ?" asked the waiter. 

" It's of no use saying any," replied Nancy. 

" Nor business ?" said the man. 

" No, nor that neither," rejoined the girl. " I must 
see the lady." 

" Come !" said the man, pushing her toward the 
door. " None of this. Take yourself off." 

" I shall be carried out, if I go !" said the girl, vio 
lently ; " and I can make that a job that two of you 
won't like to do. Isn't there any body here," she 
said, looking round, " that will see a simple message 
carried for a poor wretch like me ?" 

This appeal produced an effect on a good-tempered- 
faced man-cook, who with some other of the servants 
was looking on, and who stepped forward to interfere. 

" Take it up for her, Joe, can't you ?" said this person. 



" What's the good f ' replied the man. " You don't 
suppose the young lady will see such as her, do you ?" 

This allusion to Nancy's doubtful character raised 
a vast quantity of chaste wrath iu the bosoms of four 
house-maids, who remarked with great fervor that 
the creature was a disgrace to her sex, and strong 
ly advocated her being thrown ruthlessly into the 
kennel. 

" Do what you like with me," said the girl, turn 
ing to the men again ; " but do what I ask you first, 
and I ask you to give this message for God Almighty's 
sake." 

The soft-hearted cook added his intercession, and 
the result was that the man who had first appeared 
undertook its delivery. 

" What's it to bef said the man, with one foot on 
the stairs. 

" That a young woman earnestly asks to speak to 
Miss Maylie alone," said Nancy; "and that if the 
lady will only hear the first word she has to say, she 
will know whether to hear her business, or to have 
her turned out-of-doors as an impostor." 

" I say," said the man, " you're coming it strong." 

" You give the message," said the girl, firmly, " and 
let me hear the answer." 

The man ran up stairs. Nancy remained, pale and 
almost breathless, listening with quivering lip to 
the very audible expressions of scorn, of which the 
chaste hoiise-maids were very prolific, and of which 
they became still more so when the man returned 
and said the young woman was to walk up stairs. 

" It's no good being proper in this world," said the 
first house-maid. 

" Brass can do better than the gold what has stood 
the fire," said the second. 

The third contented herself with wondering "what 
ladies was made of;" and the fourth took the first in 
a quartette of " Shameful !" with which the Dianas 
concluded. 

Regardless of all this, for she had weightier mat 
ters at heart, Nancy followed the man, with trem 
bling limbs, to a small antechamber lighted by a 
lamp from the ceiling. Here he left her, and retired. 



CHAPTER XL. 

A STRANGE INTERVIEW, WHICH IS A SEQUEL TO THE LAST 
CHAPTER. 

THE girl's life had been squandered in the streets, 
and among the most noisome of the stews and 
dens of London, but there was something of the 
woman's original nature left in her still ; and when 
she heard a light step approaching the door opposite 
to that by which she had entered, and thought of the 
wide contrast which the small room would in anoth 
er moment contain, she felt burdened with the sense 
of her own deep shame, and shrunk as though she 
could scarcely bear the presence of her with whom 
she had sought this interview. 

But struggling with these better feelings was pride 
the vice of the lowest and most debased creatures 
no less than of the high and self-assured. The mis 
erable companion of thieves and ruffians, the fallen 
outcast of low haunts, the associate of the scourings 



TWO SISTEE-W01IEX. 



127 



of the jails and hulks, living within the shadow of 
the gallows itself even this degraded being felt too 
proud to betray a feeble gleam of the womanly feel 
ing Avhich she thought a weakness, but which alone 
connected her with that humanity of which her wast 
ing life had obliterated so many, many traces when a 
very child. 

She raised her eyes sufficiently to observe that the 
figure which presented itself was that of a slight and 
beautiful girl ; then, bending them on the ground, 
she tossed her head with affected carelessness as she 
said: 

" It's a hard matter to get to see you, lady. If I 
had taken offense and gone away, as many would 
have done, you'd have been sorry for it one day, and 
not without reason either." 

" I am very sorry if any one has behaved harshly 
to you," replied Rose. " Do not think of that. Tell 
me why you wished to see me. I am the person you 
inquired for." 

The kind tone of this answer, the sweet voice, the 
gentle manner, the absence of any accent of haugh 
tiness or displeasure, took the girl completely by sur 
prise, and she burst into tears. 

" Oh, lady! lady !" she said, clasping her hands pas 
sionately before her face, " if there was more like you, 
there would be fewer like me ; there would there 
would !" 

" Sit down," said Rose, earnestly. " W you are in 
poverty or affliction, I shall be truly glad to relieve 
you, if I can I shall, indeed. Sit down." 

" Let me stand, lady," said the girl, still weeping, 
" and do not speak to me so kindly till you know me 
better. It is growing late. Is is that door shut f " 

" Yes," said Rose, recoiling a few steps, as if to 
be nearer assistance in case she should require it. 
" Why ?" 

" Because," said the girl, " I am about to put my 
life, and the lives of others, in your hands. I am the 
girl that dragged little Oliver back to old Fagiu's on 
the night he went out from the house in Peafconville." 

" You !" said Rose Maylie. 

" I, lady !" replied the girl. " I am the infamous 
creature you have heard of, that lives among the 
thieves, and that never, from the first moment I 
can recollect my eyes and senses opening on London 
streets, have known any better life, or kinder words 
than they have given me, so help me God ! Do not 
mind shrinking openly from me, lady. I am young 
er than you would think, to look at me, but I am 
well used to it. The poorest women fall back as I 
make my way along the crowded pavement." 

" What dreadful things are these !" said Rose, in 
voluntarily falling from her strange companion. 

" Thank Heaven upon your knees, dear lady," cried 
the girl, "that you had friends to care for and keep 
you in your childhood, and that you were never in 
the midst of cold and hunger, and riot and drunken 
ness, and and something worse than all as I 
have been from my cradle. I may use the word, for 
the alley and the gutter were mine, as they will be 
my death-bed." 

" I pity you !" said Rose, in a broken voice. " It 
wrings my heart to hear you !" 

" Heaven bless you for your goodness !" rejoined 
the girl. " If you knew what I am sometimes, you 



would pity me, indeed. But I have stolen away 
from those who would surely murder me if they 
knew I had been here to tell you what I have over 
heard. Do you know a man named Monks f 

" No," said Rose. 

" He knows you," replied the girl ; " and knew you 
were here, for it was by hearing him tell the place 
that I found you out." 

" I never heard the name," said Rose. 

" Then he goes by some other among us," rejoined 
the girl, " which I more than thought before. Some 
time ago, and soon after Oliver was put into your 
house on the night of the robbery, I suspecting 
this man listened to a conversation held between 
him and Fagin in the dark. I found out, from what 
I heard, that Monks the man I asked you about, 
you know " 

" Yes," said Rose, " I understand." 

" That Monks," pursued the girl, " had seen him 
accidentally with two of our boys on the day we first 
lost him, and had known him directly to be the same 
child that he was watching for, though I couldn't 
make out why. A bargain was struck with Fagin, 
that if Oliver was got back he should have a certain 
sum; and he was to have more for making him a 
thief, which this Monks wanted for some purpose of 
his own." 

" For what purpose ?" asked Rose. 

" He caught sight of my shadow on the wall as I 
listened, in the hope of finding out," said the girl ; 
"and there are not many people besides me that 
could have got out of their way in time to escape 
discovery. But I did ; and I saw him no more till 
last night." 

"And what occurred then?" 

" I'll tell you, lady. Last night he came again. 
Again they went up stairs, and I, wrapping myself 
up so that my shadow should not betray me, again 
listened at the door. The first words I heard Monks 
say were these : ' So the only proofs of the boy's 
identity lie at the bottom of the river, and the old 
hag that received them from the mother is rotting 
in her coffin.' They laughed, and talked of his suc 
cess in doing this ; and Monks, talking on about the 
boy, and getting very wild, said that though he had 
got the young devil's money safely now, he'd rather 
have had it the other way; for what a game it 
would have been to have brought down the boast 
of the father's will by driving him through every 
jail in town, and then hauling him up for some cap 
ital felony which Fagin could easily manage, after 
having made a good profit of him beside." 

" What is all this ?" said Rose. 

" The truth, lady, though it comes from my lips," 
replied the girl. " Then, he said, with oaths com 
mon enough in my ears, but strange to yours, that if 
he could gratify his hatred by taking the boy's life 
without bringing his own neck in danger, he would; 
but, as he couldn't, he'd be upon the watch to meet 
him at every turn in life ; and if he took advantage 
of his birth and history, he might harm him yet. 
' In short, Fagin,' he says, ' Jew as you are, you never 
laid such snares as I'll contrive for my young broth 
er Oliver." 

" His brother !" exclaimed Rose. 

" Those were his words," said Xancy, glancing un- 



128 



OLIVER TWIST. 



easily round, as she had scarcely ceased to do since 
she began to speak, for a vision of Sikes haunted her 
perpetually. "And more. When he spoke of you 
and the other lady, and said it seemed contrived by 
Heaveu, or the devil, against him, that Oliver should 
come into your hands, he laughed, and said there 
was some comfort in that too, for how many thou 
sands and hundreds of thousands of pounds would 
you not give, if you had them, to know who your 
two-legged spaniel was." 

" You do not mean," said Rose, turning very pale, 
" to tell me that this was said in earnest ?" 

" He spoke in hard and angry earnest, if a man ever 
did," replied the girl, shaking her head. " He is an 
earnest man when his hatred is up. I know many 
who do worse things ; but I'd rather listen to them 
all a dozen times than to that Monks once. It is 
growing late, and I have to reach home without sus 
picion of having been on such an errand as this. I 
must get back quickly." 

" But what can I do ?" said Rose. " To what use 
can I turn this communication without you ? Back ! 
Why do you wish to return to companions you paint 
in such terrible colors ? If you repeat this informa 
tion to a gentleman whom I can summon in an in 
stant from the next room, you can be consigned to 
some place of safety without half an hour's delay." 

" I wish to go back," said the girl. " I must go 
back, because how can I tell such things to an in 
nocent lady like you? because among the men I 
have told you of there is one the most desperate 
among them all that I can't leave ; no, not even to 
be saved from the life I am leading now." 

" Your having interfered in this dear boy's behalf 
before," said Rose ; " your coming here, at so great a 
risk, to tell me what you have heard ; your manner, 
which convinces me of the truth of what you say ; 
your evident contrition, and sense of shame ; all lead 
me to believe that you might be yet reclaimed. Oh !" 
said the earnest girl, folding her hands as the tears 
coursed down her face, " do not turn a deaf ear to 
the entreaties of one of your own sex ; the first the 
first, I do believe, who ever appealed to you in the 
voice of pity and compassion. Do hear my words, 
and let me save you yet for better things." 

"Lady," cried the girl, sinking on her knees, " dear, 
sweet, angel lady, you are the first that ever blessed 
me with such words as these ; and if I had heard 
them years ago, they might have turned me from a 
life of sin and sorrow ; but it is too late, it is too 
late!" 

"It is never too late," said Rose, " for penitence and 
atonement." 

" It is !" cried the girl, writhing in the agony of her 
mind ; " I can not leave him now ! I could not be 
his death." 

" Why should you be ?" asked Rose. 

" Nothing could save him," cried the girl. " If I 
told others what I have told you, and led to their 
being taken, he would be sure to die. He is the 
boldest, and has been so cruel !" . 

" Is it possible," cried Rose, " that for such a man 
as this you can resign every future hope, and the 
certainty of immediate rescue ? It is madness." 

" I don't know what it is," answered the girl ; " I 
only know that it is so, and not with me alone ; but 



with hundreds of others as ba4 and wretched as my 
self. I must go back. Whether it is God's wrath 
for the wrong I have done, I do not know ; but I am 
drawn back to him, through every suffering and ill- 
usage ; and I should be, I believe, if I knew that I 
was to die by his hand at last." ' 

"W T hat am I to do?" said Rose. "I should not 
let you depart from me thus." 

" You should, lady, and I know you will," rejoined 
the girl, rising. " You will not stop my going, be 
cause I have trusted in your goodness, and forced 
no promise from you, as I might have done." 

"Of what use, then, is the communication you 
have made ?" said Rose. " This mystery must be in 
vestigated, or how will its disclosure to me benefit 
Oliver, whom you are anxious to serve ?" 

" You must have some kind gentleman about you 
that will hear it as a secret and advise you what to 
do," rejoined the girl. t 

" But where can I find you again when it is nec 
essary ?" asked Rose. " I do not seek to know where 
these dreadful people live, but where will you be 
walking or passing at any settled period from this 
time?" 

" Will you promise me that you will have my se 
cret strictly kept, and come alone, or with the only 
other person that knows it, and that I shall not be 
watched or followed ?" asked the girl. 

" I promise you solemnly," answered Rose. 

" Every Sunday night from eleven until the clock 
strikes twelve," said the girl, without hesitation, "I 
will walk on London Bridge, if I am alive." 

" Stay another moment," interposed Rose, as the 
girl moved hurriedly toward the door. " Think once 
again on your own condition, and the opportunity 
you have of escaping from it. You have a claim on 
me, not only as the voluntary bearer of this intelli 
gence, but as a woman lost almost beyond redemp 
tion. Will you return to this gang of robbers, and 
to this man, when a word can save you ? What fas 
cination Ik it that can take you back and make you 
cling to wickedness and misery? Oh! is there no 
chord in your heart that I can touch ? Is there 
nothing left to which I can appeal against this ter 
rible infatuation ?" 

" When ladies as young, and good, and beautiful 
as you are," replied the girl, steadily, " give away 
your hearts, love will carry you all lengths even 
such as you, who have home, friends, other admirers, 
every thing to fill them. When such as I, Avho have 
no certain roof but the coffin-lid, and no Mend in 
sickness or death but the hospital nurse, set our rot 
ten hearts on any man, and let him fill the place 
that has been a blank through all our wretched 
lives, who can hope to cure us ? Pity us, lady pity 
us for having only one feeling of the woman left, 
and for having that turned by a heavy judgment 
from a comfort and a pride, into a new means of vi 
olence and suffering." 

" You will," said Rose, after a pause, " take somo 
money from me, which may enable you to live with 
out dishonesty at all events, until we meet again .'" 

" Not a penny," replied the girl, waving her hand. 

" Do not close your heart against all my efforts to 
help you," said Rose, stepping gently fonvard. " I 
wish to serve you, indeed." 



HOW TO ACT NOW? 



129 



" You would serve me best, lady," replied the girl, 
wringing her hands, " if you could take my life at 
once ; for I have felt more grief to think of what I 
am to-night than I ever did before, and it would be 
something not to die in the hell in which I have 
lived. God bless you, sweet lady, and send as much 
happiness on your head as I have brought shame on 
mine !" 

Thus speaking, and sobbing aloud, the unhappy 
creature turned away ; while Rose Maylie, overpow 
ered by this extraordinary interview, which had more 
the resemblance of a rapid dream than an actual oc 
currence, sank into a chair, and endeavored to collect 
her wandering thoughts. 



CHAPTER XLI. 

CONTAINING FRESH DISCOVERIES, AND SHOWING THAT 
SURPRISES, LIKE MISFORTUNES, SELDOM COME ALONE. 

HER situation was, indeed, one of no common tri 
al and difficulty. While she felt the most ea 
ger and burning desire to penetrate the mystery in 
which Oliver's history was enveloped, she could not 
but hold sacred the confidence which the miserable 
woman with whom she had just conversed had re 
posed in her, as a young and guileless girl. Her 
words and manner had touched Rose Maylie's heart ; 
and, mingled with her love for her young charge, and 
scarcely less intense, in its truth and fervor, was her 
fond wish to win the outcast back to repentance and 
hope. 

They purposed remaining in London only three 
days, prior to departing for some weeks to a distant 
part of the coast. It was now midnight of the first 
day. What course of action could she determine 
upon which could be adopted in eight -and -forty 
hours? Or how could she postpone the journey 
without exciting suspicion ? 

Mr. Losberne was with them, and would be for the 
next two days; but Rose was too well acquainted 
with the excellent gentleman's impetuosity, and fore 
saw too clearly the wrath with which, in the first 
explosion of his indignation, he would regard the in 
strument of Oliver's recapture, to trust him with the 
secret, when her representations in the girl's behalf 
could be seconded by no experienced person. These 
were all reasons for the greatest caution and most 
circumspect behavior in communicating it to Mrs. 
Maylie, whose first impulse would infallibly be to 
hold a conference with the worthy doctor on the 
subject. As to resorting to any legal adviser, even 
if she had known how to do so, it was scarcely to be 
thought of for the same reasons. Once the thought 
occurred to her of seeking assistance from Harry; 
but this awakened the recollection of their last part 
ing, and it seemed unworthy of her to call him back, 
when the tears rose to her eyes as she pursued 
this train of reflection he might have by this time 
learned to forget her, and to be happier away. 

Disturbed by these different reflections ; inclining 
now to one course and then to another, and again 
recoiling from all, as each successive consideration 
presented itself to her mind, Rose passed a sleepless 
and anxious night. After more communing with 



herself next day, she arrived at the desperate con 
clusion of consulting Harry. 

" If it be painful to him," she thought, " to come 
back here, how painful it will be to me ! But per 
haps he will not come; he may write, or he may 
come himself, and studiously abstain from meeting 
me he did when he went away. I hardly thought 
he would ; but it was better for us both." And here 
Rose dropped the pen and turned away, as though 
the very paper which was to be her messenger should 
not see her weep. 

She had taken up the same pen and laid it down 
again fifty times, and had considered and reconsid 
ered the first line of her letter without writing the 
first word, when Oliver, who had been walking in 
the streets, with Mr. Giles for a body-guard, entered 
the room in such breathless haste and violent agita 
tion, as seemed to betoken some new cause of alarm. 

" What makes you look so flurried ?" asked Rose, 
advancing to meet him. 

" I hardly know how ; I feel as if I should be 
choked," replied the boy. "Oh dear! To think 
that I should see him at last, and you should be able 
to know that I have told you all the truth !" 

" I never thought you had told us any thing but 
the truth," said Rose, soothing him. " But what is 
this ? of whom do you speak ?" 

"I have seen the gentleman," replied Oliver, scarce 
ly able to articulate, " the gentleman who was so 
good to me Mr. Brownlow, that we have so often 
talked about." 

" Where ?" asked Rose. 

" Getting out of a coach," replied Oliver, shedding 
tears of delight, " and going into 'a house. I didn't 
speak to bim I couldn't speak to him, for he didn't 
see me, and I trembled so that I was not able to go 
up to him. But Giles asked, for me, whether he 
lived there, and they said he did. Look here," said 
Oliver, opening a scrap of paper, " here it is ; here's 
where he lives I'm going there directly ! Oh, dear 
me, dear me ! What shall I do when I come to see 
him and hear him speak again H' 

With her attention not a little distracted by these 
and a great many other incoherent exclamations of 
joy, Rose read the address, which was Craven Street, 
in the Strand. She very soon determined upon turn 
ing the discovery to account. 

"Quick!" she' said. "Tell them to fetch a hack 
ney-coach, and be ready to go with me. I will take 
you there directly, without a minute's loss of time. 
I will only tell my aunt that we are going out for 
an hour, and be ready as soon as you are." 

Oliver needed no prompting to dispatch, and in 
little more than five minutes they were on their way 
to Craven Street. When they arrived there, Rose 
left Oliver in the coach, under pretense of preparing 
the old gentleman to receive him ; and sending up 
her card by the servant, requested to see Mr. Brown- 
low on very pressing business. The servant soon re 
turned to beg that she would walk up stairs ; and 
following him into an upper room, Miss. Maylie was 
presented to an elderly gentleman of benevolent ap 
pearance, in a bottle-green coat; at no great dis 
tance from whom was seated another old gentleman, 
in nankeen breeches and gaiters, who did not look 
particularly benevolent, and who was sitting with 



130 



OLIVER TWIST. 



his bauds clasped on the top of a thick stick, and 
bis cbin propped thereupon. 

" Dear me !" said the gentleman in the bottle-green 
coat, hastily rising with great politeness, " I beg your 
pardon, youug lady I imagined it was some impor 
tunate person who I beg you will excuse me. Be 
seated, pray." 

" Mr. Brownlow, I believe, sir ?" said Rose, glan 
cing from the other gentleman to the one who had 
spoken. 

" That is my name," said the old gentleman. " This 
is my friend, Mr. Griinwig. Grim wig, will you leave 
us for a few minutes ?" 

" I believe," interposed Miss Maylie, " that at this 
period of our interview I need not give that gentle 
man the trouble of going away. If I am correctly 
informed, he is cognizant of the business on which I 
wish to speak to you." 

Mr Brownlow inclined his head. Mr. Grimwig, 
who had made one very stiff bow, and risen from his 
chair, made another very stiff bow, and dropped into 
it again. 

" I shall surprise you very much, I have no doubt," 
said Rose,, naturally embarrassed ; " but you once 
showed great benevolence and goodness to a very 
dear young Mend of mine, and I am sure you will 
take an interest in hearing of him again." 

" Indeed !" said Mr. Brownlow. 

" Oliver Twist you knew him as," replied Rose. 

The words no sooner escaped her lips, than Mr. 
Grimwig, who had been affecting to dip into a large 
book that lay on the table, upset it with a great 
crash, and falling back in his chair, discharged from 
his features every expression but one of unmitigated 
wonder, and indulged in a prolonged and vacant 
stare ; then, as if ashamed of having betrayed so 
much emotion, he jerked himself, as it were, by a 
convulsion into his former attitude, and looking out 
straight before him, emitted a long deep whistle, 
which seemed at last not to be discharged on empty 
air, but to die away in the iunermost recesses of his 
stomach. 

Mr. Brownlow was no less surprised, although his 
astonishment was not expressed in the same eccen 
tric manner. He drew his chair nearer to Miss May- 
lie's, and said, 

" Do me the favor, my dear young lady, to leave 
entirely out of the question that gooduess and benev 
olence of which you speak, and of which nobody else 
knows any thing ; and if you have it in your power 
to produce any evidence which will alter the unfa 
vorable opinion I was once induced to entertain of 
that poor child, in Heaven's name put me in posses 
sion of it." 

" A bad one ! I'll eat my head if he is not a bad 
one !" growled Mr. Grimwig, speaking by some ven- 
triloquial power, without moving a muscle of his 
face. 

" He is a child of a noble nature and a warm heart," 
said Rose, coloring ; "and that Power which has 
thought fit to try him beyond his years has planted 
in his breast affections and feelings which would do 
honor to many who have numbered his days six 
times over." 

" I'm only sixty-one," said Mr. Grimwig, with the 
same rigid face. "And, as the devil's in it if this 



Oliver is not twelve years old at least, I don't see 
the application of that remark." 

" Do not heed my friend, Miss Maylie," said Mr. 
Brownlow ; "he does not mean Avhafc he says." 

" Yes he does," growled Mr. Grimwig. 

" No, he does not," said Mr. Browulow, obviously 
rising in wrath as he spoke. 

" He'll eat his head, if he doesn't," growled Mr. 
Grimwig. 

" He would deserve to have it knocked off, if he 
does," said Mr. Brownlow. 

"And he'd uncommonly like to see any man offer 
to do it," responded Mr. Grimwig, knocking his stick 
upon the floor. 

Having gone thus far, the two old gentlemen sev 
erally took snuff, and afterward shook hands, accord 
ing to their invariable custom. 

" Now, Miss Maylie," said Mr. Brownlow, " to return 
to the subject in which your humanity is so much in 
terested. Will you let me know what intelligence 
you have of this poor child ; allowing me to premise 
that I exhausted every means in my power of dis 
covering him, and that since I have been absent 
from this country, my first impression that he had 
imposed upon me, and had been persuaded by his 
former associates to rob me, has been considerably 
shaken." 

Rose, who had had time to collect her thoughts, 
at once related, in a few natural words, all that had 
befallen Oliver since he left Mr. Brownlow's house ; 
reserving Nancy's information for that gentleman's 
private ear, and concluding with the assurance that 
his only sorrow for some months past had been the 
not being able to meet with his former benefactor 
and friend. 

" Thank God !" said the old gentleman. " This is 
great happiness to me, great happiness. But you 
have not told me where he is now, Miss Maylie. You 
must pardon my finding fault with you but why 
not have brought him ?" 

"He is waiting in a coach at the door," replied 
Rose. 

"At this door!" cried the old gentleman. With 
which he hurried out of the room, down the stairs, 
up the coach-steps, and into the coach, without an 
other word. 

When the room-door closed behind him, Mr. Grim- 
wig lifted up his head, and converting one of the 
hind legs of his chair into a pivot, described three 
distinct circles with the assistance of his stick and 
the table, sitting in it all the time. After perform 
ing this evolution, he rose and limped as fast as he 
could up and down the room at least a dozen times, 
and then stopping suddenly before Rose, kissed her 
without the slightest preface. 

" Hush !" he said, as the young lady rose in some 
alarm at this unusual proceeding. " Don't be afraid. 
I'm old enough to be your grandfather. You're a 
sweet girl. I like you. Here they are !" 

In fact, as he threw himself at one dexterous dive 
into his former seat, Mr. Brownlow returned, accom 
panied by Oliver, whom Mr. Grimwig received very 
graciously ; and if the gratification of that moment 
had been the only reward for all her anxiety and can- 
in Oliver's behalf, Rose Maylie would have been well 
repaid. 



ME. BEOWNLOW'S HEAD FOR THINKING. 



131 



"There is somebody else who should uot be for 
gotten, by-the-bye," said Mr. Brownlow, riiiging the 
bell. " Seud Mrs. Bed win here, if you please." 

The old housekeeper auswered the summons with 
all dispatch ; and dropping a courtesy at the door, 
waited for orders. 

" Why, you get blinder every day, Bedwin," said 
Mr. Brownlow, rather testily. 

" Well, that I do, sir," replied the old lady. " Peo 
ple's eyes, at my time of life, don't improve with age, 
sir." 

" I could have told you that," rejoined Mr. Brown- 
low ; " but put on your glasses, and see if you can't 
find out what you were wanted for, will you f ' 

The old lady began to rummage in her pocket for 
her spectacles. But Oliver's patience was not proof 
against this new trial ; and yielding to his first im 
pulse, he sprang into her arms. 

" God be good to me !" cried the old lady, embra 
cing him ; " it is my innocent boy !" 

" My dear old nurse !" cried Oliver. 

" He would come back I knew he would," said 
the old lady, holding him in her arms. " How well 
he looks, and how like a gentleman's son he is dressed 
again ! Where have you been this long, long while ? 
Ah ! the same sweet face, but not so pale ; the same 
soft eye, but not so sad. I have never forgotten them 
or his quiet smile, but have seen them every day, side 
by side with those of my own dear children, (lead and 
gone since I was a lightsome young creature." Euu- 
uiiig on thus, and now holding Oliver from her to 
mark how he had grown, now clasping him to her 
and passing her fingers fondly through his hair, the 
good soul laughed and wept upon his neck by turns. 

Leaving her and Oliver to compare notes at lei 
sure, Mr. Brownlow led the way into another room, 
and there heard from' Eose a full narration of her 
interview with Nancy, which occasioned him no lit 
tle surprise and perplexity. Rose also explained 
her reasons for not confiding in her friend Mr. Los- 
berne in the first instance. The old gentleman con 
sidered that she had acted prudently, and readily un 
dertook to hold solemn conference with the worthy 
doctor himself. To afford him an early opportunity 
for the execution of this design, it was arranged that 
he should call at the hotel at eight o'clock that even 
ing, and that in the mean time Mrs. Maylie should be 
cautiously informed of all that had occurred. These 
preliminaries adjusted, Eose and Oliver returned 
home. 

Eose had by no means overrated the measure of 
the good doctor's wrath. Nancy's history was no 
sooner unfolded to him, than he poured forth a 
shower of mingled threats and execrations, threat 
ened to make her the first victim of the combined in 
genuity of Messrs. Blathers and Duff, and actually 
put on his hat preparatory to sallying forth to ob 
tain the assistance of those worthies. And doubt 
less he would, in this first outbreak, have carried the 
intention into effect without a moment's considera 
tion of the consequences, if he had not been restrain 
ed in part by corresponding violence on the" side of 
Mr. Brownlow, who was himself of an irascible tem 
perament, and partly by such arguments and repre 
sentations as seemed best calculated to dissuade him 
from Ms hot-brained purpose. 



" Then what the devil is to be done ?" said the im 
petuous doctor, when they had rejoined the two la 
dies. " Are we to pass a vote of thanks to all these 
vagabonds, male and female, and beg them to accept 
a hundred pounds or so apiece, as a trifling mark of 
our esteem, and some slight acknowledgment of their 
kindness to Oliver ?" 

" Not exactly that," rejoined Mr. Brownlow, laugh 
ing, " but we must proceed gently and with great 
care." 

"Gentleness and care!" exclaimed the doctor. 
" I'd send them, one and all, to " 

" Never mind where," interposed Mr. Brownlow. 
" But reflect whether sending them anywhere is like 
ly to attain the object we have in view." 

" What object ?" asked the doctor. 

" Simply the discovery of Oliver's parentage, and 
regaining for him the inheritance of which, if this 
stcry be true, he has been fraudulently deprived." 

" Ah !" said Mr. Losberue, cooling himself with his 
pocket-handkerchief; "I almost forgot that." 

" You see," pursued Mr. Brownlow, " placing this 
poor girl entirely out of the question, and supposing 
it were possible to bring these scoundrels to justice 
without compromising her safety, what good should 
we bring about ?" 

" Hanging a few of them, at least, in all probabil 
ity," suggested the doctor, "and transporting the 
rest." 

" Very good," replied Mr. Brownlow, smiling ; "but 
no doubt they will bring that about for themselves 
in the fullness of time ; and if we step in to forestall 
them, it seems to me that we shall be performing a 
very Quixotic act, in direct opposition to our own in 
terest or at least to Oliver's, which is the same 
thing." 

" How ?" inquired the doctor. 

" Thus. It is quite clear that we shall have ex 
treme difficulty in getting to the bottom of this mys 
tery, unless we can bring this man, Monks, upon his 
knees. That can only be done by stratagem, and by 
catching him when he is not surrounded by these 
people. *For, suppose he were apprehended, we have 
no proof against him. He is not even (so far as we 
know, or as the facts appear to us) concerned with 
the gang in any of their robberies. If he were not 
discharged, it is very unlikely that he could receive 
any further punishment than being committed to 
prison as a rogue and vagabond ; and of course ever 
afterward his mouth would be so obstinately closed 
that he might as well, for our purposes, be deaf, dumb, 
blind, and an idiot." 

" Then," said the doctor, impetuously, " I put it to 
you again, whether you think it reasonable that this 
promise to the girl should be considered binding ; a 
promise made with the best and kindest intentions, 
but really 

" Do not discuss the point, my dear young lady, 
pray," said Mr. Brownlow, interrupting Eose as she 
was about to speak. " The promise shall be kept. 
I don't think it will, in the slightest degree, interfere 
with our proceedings. But before we can resolve 
upon any precise course of action, it will be necessa 
ry to see the girl, to ascertain from her whether she 
will point out this Monks, on the understanding that 
he is to be dealt with by us, and not by the law ; or, 



132 



OLIVER TWIST. 



if she will not or can not do that, to procure from 
her such an account of his haunts and description of 
his person as will enable us to identify him. She 
can not he seen until next Sunday night ; this is 
Tuesday. I would suggest that in the mean time we 
remain perfectly quiet, and keep these matters secret 
even from Oliver himself." 

Although Mr. Losherne received with many wry 
faces a proposal involving a delay of five whole days, 
he was fain to admit that no better course occurred 
to him just then ; and as both Rose and Mrs. May lie 
sided very strongly with Mr. Brownlow, that gentle 
man's proposition was carried unanimously. 

" I should like," he said, " to call in the aid of my 
friend Grimwig. He is a strange creature, but a 
shrewd one, and might prove of material assistance 
to us ; I should say that he was bred a lawyer, and 
quitted the Bar in disgust because he had only one 
brief and a motion of course, in twenty years, though 
whether that is a recommendation or not, you must 
determine for yourselves." 

" I have no objection to your calling in your friend 
if I may call in mine," said the doctor. 

" We must put it to the vote," replied Mr. Brown- 
low, " who may he be ?" 

" That lady's son, and this young lady's very old 
friend," said the doctor, motioning toward Mrs. May- 
lie, and concluding with an expressive glance at her 
niece. 

Eose blushed deeply, but she did not make any 
audible objection to this motion (possibly she felt in 
a hopeless minority) ; and Harry Maylie and Mr. Grim- 
wig were accordingly added to the committee. 

" We stay in town, of course," said Mrs. Maylie, 
"while there remains the slightest prospect of pros 
ecuting this inquiry with a chance of success. I will 
spare neither trouble nor expense in behalf of the ob 
ject in which we are all so deeply interested, and I 
am content to remain here, if it be for twelve mouths, 
so long as you assure me that any hope remains." 

"Good!" rejoined Mr. Brownlow. "And as I see 
on the faces about me a disposition to inquire how it 
happened that I was not in the way to corroborate 
Oliver's tale, and had so suddenly left the kingdom, 
let me stipulate that I shall be asked no questions 
until such time as I may deem it expedient to fore 
stall them by telling my own story. Believe me, I 
make this request with good reason, for I might oth 
erwise excite hopes destined never to be realized, and 
only increase difficulties and disappointments already 
quite numerous enough. Come ! Supper has been 
announced, and young Oliver, who is all alone in the 
next room, will have begun to think by this time that 
we have wearied of his company, and entered into 
some dark conspiracy to thrust him forth upon the 
world." 

With these words, the old gentleman gave his hand 
to Mrs. Maylie, and escorted her into the supper-room. 
Mr. Losberne followed, leading Rose, and the council 
was, for the present, effectually broken up. 



CHAPTER XLII. 

AN OLD ACQUAINTANCE OF OLIVER'S, EXHIBITING DE 
CIDED MAKKS OF GENIUS, BECOMES A PUBLIC CHARAC 
TER IN THE METROPOLIS. 

TTPON the night when Nancy, having lulled Mr. 
l_J Sikes to sleep, hurried on her self-imposed mis 
sion to Rose Maylie, there advanced toward London 
by the Great North Road two persons, upon whom it 
is expedient that this history should bestow some at 
tention. 

They were a man and woman ; or perhaps they 
would be better described as a male and female : for 
the former was one of those long-limbed, knock- 
kneed, shambling, bony people, to whom it is diffi 
cult to assign any precise age looking as they do, 
when they are yet boys, like undergrown men, and 
when they are almost men, like overgrown boys. 
The woman was young, but of a robust and hardy 
make, as she need have been to bear the weight of 
the heavy bundle which was strapped to her back. 
Her companion was not iucumbered with much lug- 
gage, as there merely dangled from a stick which he 
carried over his shoulder a small parcel wrapped in a 
common handkerchief, and apparently light enough. 
This circumstance, added to the length of his legs, 
which were of unusual extent, enabled him with 
much ease to keep some half dozen paces in advance 
of his companion, to whom he occasionally turned 
with an impatient jerk of the head, as if reproaching 
her tardiness, and urging her to greater exertion. 

Thus they had toiled along the dusty road, taking 
little heed of any object within sight, save when 
they stepped aside to allow a wider passage for the 
mail-coaches which were whirling out of town, un 
til they passed through Highgate archway ; when 
the foremost traveler stopped and called impatiently 
to his companion. 

" Come on, can't yer ? What a lazybones ver are, 
Charlotte !" 

" It's a heavy load, I can tell you," said the female, 
coming up, almost breathless with fatigue. 

"Heavy! What are yer talking about? What 
are yer made for ?" rejoined the male traveler, chang 
ing his own little bundle as he spoke, to the other 
shoulder. " Oh, there yer are, resting again ! Well, 
if yer ain't enough to tire any body's patience out, I 
don't know what is !" 

" Is it much farther ?" asked the woman, resting 
herself against a bank, and looking up with the per 
spiration streaming from her face. 

" Much farther ! Yer as good as there," said the 
long-legged tramper, pointing out before him. " Look 
there ! Those are the lights of London." 

" They're a good two mile off, at least," said the 
woman, despondingly. 

"Never mind whether they're two mile off, or 
twenty," said Noah Claypole, for he it was; "but 
get up and come on, or I'll kick yer, and so I give 
yer notice." 

As Noah's red nose grew redder with anger, and 
as he crossed the road while speaking, as if fully 
prepared to put his threat into execution, the wom 
an rose without any further remark, and trudged on 
ward by his side. 

" Where do you mean to stop for the night, Noah ?" 



MB. CLAYPOLE AND LADY. 



133 



she asked, after they had walked a few hundred 
yards. 

" How should I know ?" replied Noah, whose tem 
per had been considerably impaired by walking. 

" Near, I hope," said Charlotte. 

" No, not near," replied Mr. Claypole. " There ! 
Not near ; so don't think it." 

"Why not?" 

" When I tell yer that I don't mean to do a thing, 
that's enough, without any why or because either," 
replied Mr. Claypole, with dignity. 

" Well, you needn't be so cross," said his com 
panion. 

"A pretty thing it would be, wouldn't it, to go and 
stop at the very first public-house outside the town, 
so that Sowerberry, if he come up after us, might 



" I took it for you, Noah, dear," rejoined Charlotte. 

" Did I keep it ?" asked Mr. Claypole. 

"No; you trusted in me, and let me carry it, like 
a dear, and so you are," said the lady, chucking him 
under the chin, and drawing her arm through his. 

This was indeed the case ; but as it was not Mr. 
Claypole's habit to repose a blind and foolish confi 
dence in any body, it should be observed, in justice 
to that gentleman, that he had trusted Charlotte to 
this extent, in order that, if they were pursued, the 
money might be found on her ; which would leave 
him an opportunity of asserting his innocence of any 
theft, and would greatly facilitate his chances of es 
cape. Of course he entered, at this juncture, into no 
explanation of his motives, and they walked on very 
lovingly together. 




' LOOK THERE ! THOSE AKE THE LIGHTS OP LONDON." 



poke in his old nose, and have us taken back in a 
cart with handcuffs on," said Mr. Claypole, in a jeer 
ing tone. " No ! I shall go and lose myself among 
the narrowest streets I can find, and not stop till we 
come to the very out-of-the-wayest house I can set 
eyes on. 'Cod, yer may thank yer stars I've got a 
head ; for if we hadn't gone at first the wrong road 
a purpose, and come back across country, yer'd have 
been locked up hard and fast a week ago, my lady. 
And serve yer right for being a fool." 

" I know I ain't as cunning as you are," replied 
Charlotte ; " but don't put all the blame on me, and 
say / should have been locked up. You would have 
been if I had been, any way." 

" Yer took the money from the till, yer know yer 
did," said Mr. Claypole. 



In pursuance of this cautious plan, Mr. Claypole 
went on, without halting, until he arrived at the 
Angel at Islington, where he wisely judged, from 
the crowd of passengers and number of vehicles, that 
London began in earnest. Just pausing to observe 
which appeared the most crowded streets, and con 
sequently the most to be avoided, he crossed into 
Saint John's Road, and was soon deep in the obscu 
rity of the intricate and dirty ways, which, lying be 
tween Gray's Inn Lane and Smithfield, render that 
part of the town one of the lowest and worst that 
improvement has left in the midst of London. 

Through these streets Noah Claypole walked, drag 
ging Charlotte after him ; now stepping into the ken 
nel to embrace at a glance the whole external char 
acter of some small public - house, now jogging on 



134 



OLIVER TWIST. 



again, as some fancied appearance induced him to 
believe it too public for his purpose. At length he 
stopped in front of one more humble in appearance 
and more dirty than any he had yet seen ; and, hav 
ing crossed over and surveyed it from the opposite 
pavement, graciously announced his intention of put 
ting up for the night. 

" So give us the bundle," said Noah, unstrapping 
it from the woman's shoulders, and slinging it over 
his own, " and don't yer speak except when yer 
spoke to. What's the name of the house t-h-r 
three what ?" 

" Cripples," said Charlotte. 

" Three Cripples," repeated Noah, " and a very 
good sign too. Now, then ! Keep close at my heels, 
and come along." With these injunctions, he pushed 
the rattling door with his shoulder, and entered the 
house, followed by his companion. 

There was nobody in the bar but a young Jew, 
who, with his two elbows on the counter, was read 
ing a dirty newspaper. He stared very hard at Noah, 
and Noah stared very hard at him. r 

If Noah had been attired in his charity-boy's dress, 
there might have been some reason for the Jew open 
ing his eyes so wide; but as he had discarded the coat 
and badge, and wore a short smock-frock over his leath 
ers, there seemed no particular reason for his appear 
ance exciting so much attention in a public-house. 

" Is this the Three Cripples ?" asked Noah. 

" That is the dabe of this ouse," replied the Jew. 

"A gentleman we met on the road, coming up 
from the country, recommended us here," said Noah, 
nudging Charlotte, perhaps to call her attention to 
this most ingenious device for attracting respect, 
and perhaps to warn her to betray no surprise. " We 
want to sleep here to-night." 

" I'b dot certaid you cad," said Barney, who was the 
attendant sprite ; " but I'll idquire." 

" Show us the tap, and give us a bit of cold meat 
and a drop of beer while yer inquiring, will yer ?" 
said Noah. 

Barney complied by ushering them into a small 
back-room, and setting the required viands before 
them ; having done which, he informed the travelers 
that they could be lodged that night, and left the 
amiable couple to their refreshment. 

Now, this back-room was immediately behind the 
bar, and some steps lower, so that any person con 
nected with the house undrawing a small curtain, 
which concealed a single pane of glass fixed in the 
wall of the last-named apartment about five feet 
from its flooring, could not only look down upon any 
guests in the back-room without any great hazard 
of being observed (the glass being in a dark angle of 
the wall, between which and a large upright beam 
the observer had to thrust himself), but could, by 
applying his ear to the partition, ascertain with 
tolerable distinctness their subject of conversation. 
The landlord of the house hud not withdrawn his 
'ye from this place of espial for five minutes, and 
Barney had only just returned from making the com 
munication above related, when Fagin, in the course 
of his evening's business, came into the bar to inquire 
after some of his young pupils. 

" Hush !" said Barney : " stradegers id the next 
roob." 



" Strangers!" repeated the old man, in a whisper. 

"Ah! Ad rub uds too," added Barney. "Frob 
the cut-try, but subthig in your way, or I'b bistaked.'' 

Fagiu appeared to receive this communication with 
great interest. Mounting a stool, he cautiously ap 
plied his eye to the pane of glass, from which secret 
post he could see Mr. Claypole taking cold beef from 
the dish and porter from the pot, and administering 
homeopathic doses of both to Charlotte, who sat pa 
tiently by, eating and drinking at his pleasure. 

"Aha!" he whispered, looking round to Barney, 
" I like that fellow's looks. He'd be of use to us ; 
he knows how to train the girl already. Don't make 
as much noise as a mouse, my dear, and let me hear 
'em talk let me hear 'em." 

He again applied his eye to the glass, and turning 
his ear to the partition, listened attentively, with a 
subtle and eager look upon his face that might have 
appertained to some old goblin. 

" So I mean to be a gentleman," said Mr. Claypole, 
kicking out his legs, and continuing a conversation 
the commencement of which Fagiu had arrived too 
late to hear. " No more jolly old coffins, Charlotte, 
but a gentleman's life for me ; and, if yer like, yer 
shall be a lady." 

"I should like that well enough, dear," replied 
Charlotte ; " but tills ain't to be emptied every day,. 
and people to get clear off after it." 

"Tills be blowed!" said Mr. Claypole; "there's 
more things besides tills to be emptied." 

" What do you mean ?" asked his companion. 

" Pockets, women's ridicules, houses, mail-coaches, 
banks !" said Mr. Claypole, rising with the porter. 

" But you can't do all that, dear," said Charlotte. 

" I shall look out to get into company with them 
as can," replied Noah. " They'll be able to make us 
useful someway or another. Why, you yourself are 
worth fifty women ; I never see siich a precious sly 
and deceitful creetur as yer can be when I let yer." 

" Lor, how nice it is to hear you say so !" exclaim 
ed Charlotte, imprinting a kiss upon his ugly face. 

" There, that'll do ; don't yer be too affectionate, 
in case I'm cross with yer," said Noah, disengaging 
himself with great gravity. " I should like to be 
the captain of some band, and have the whopping 
of 'em, and follering 'em about, unbeknown to them 
selves. That would suit me, if there was good prof 
it; and if we could only get in with some gentle 
men of this sort, I say it would be cheap at that 
twenty-pound note you've got especially as we 
don't very well know how to get rid of it our 
selves." 

After expressing this opinion, Mr. Claypole look 
ed into the porter-pot with an aspect of deep wis 
dom ; and having well shaken its contents, nodded 
condescendingly to Charlotte, and took a draught, 
wherewith he appeared greatly refreshed. He was 
meditating another, when the sudden opening of t In 
door and the appearance of a stranger interrupted 
him. 

The stranger was Mr. Fagin. And very amiable 
he looked, and a very low bow he made as he ad 
vanced, and. setting himself down at the nearest ta- 
ble, ordered something to drink of the grinning Bar 
ney. 

"A pleasant night, sir, but cool for the time of 



OPENING PRESENTS ITSELF. 



135 



year," said Fagin, rubbing his bands. " From the 
country, I see, sir ?" 

" How do yer see that ?" asked Noah Claypole. 

" We have not so much dust as that in London," 
replied Fagin, pointing from Noah's shoes to those 
of his companion, and from them to the two bundles. 

"Yer a sharp feller," said Noah. "Ha! ha! only 
hear that, Charlotte!" 

" Why, one need be sharp in this town, my dear," 
replied the Jew, sinking his voice to a confidential 
whisper; "and that's- the truth." 

Fagin followed up this remark by striking the 
side of his nose with his right forefinger a gesture 
which Noah attempted to imitate, though not with 
complete success, in consequence of his own nose not 
being large enough for the purpose. However, Mr. 
Fagiu seemed to interpret the endeavor as express 
ing a perfect coincidence with his opinion, and put 
about the liquor which Barney re-appeared with in 
a very friendly manner. 

" Good stuff that," observed Mr. Claypole, smack 
ing his lips. 

"Dear!" said Fagin. "A man need be always 
emptying a till, or a pocket, or a woman's reticule, 
or a house, or a mail-coach, or a bank, if he drinks it 
regularly." 

Mr. Claypole no sooner heard this extract from his 
own remarks than he fell back in his chair, and 
looked from the Jew to Charlotte with a counte 
nance of ashy paleness and excessive terror. 

" Don't mind me, my dear," said Fagin, drawing 
his chair closer. " Ha ! ha ! it was lucky it was only 
me that heard you by chance. It was very lucky it 
was only me." 

"I didn't take it," stammered Noah, no longer 
stretching out his legs like an independent gentle 
man, but coiling them up as well as he could under 
his chair ; " it was all her doing ; yerVe got it now, 
Charlotte, yer know yer have." 

" No matter who's got it, or who did it, my dear!" 
replied Fagin, glancing, nevertheless, with a hawk's 
eye at the girl and the two bundles. " I'm in that 
way myself, and I like you for it." 

" In what way ?" asked Mr. Claypole, a little re 
covering. 

" In that way of business," rejoined Fagin; "and 
so are the people of the house. You've hit the right 
nail upon the head, and are as safe here as you could 
be. There is not a safer place in all this town than 
is The Cripples that is, when I like to make it so. 
And I have taken a fancy to you and the young 
woman ; so I've said the word, and you may make 
your minds easy." 

Noah Claypole's mind might have been at ease af 
ter this assurance, but his body certainly was not ; 
for he shuffled and writhed about into various un 
couth positions, eying his new friend meanwhile 
with mingled fear and suspicion. 

" I'll tell you more," said Fagin, after he had reas-' 
sured the girl by dint of friendly nods and muttered 
encouragements. " I have got a friend that I think ; 
can gratify your darling wish, and put you in the 
right way, where you can take whatever department 
of the business you think will suit you best at first, 
and be taught all the others." 

" Yer speak as if yer were iu earnest," replied Noah. 



"What advantage would it be to me to be any 
thing else ?" inquired Fagin, shrugging his shoul 
ders. " Here ! Let me have a word with you out 
side." 

" There's no occasion to trouble ourselves to 
move," said Noah, getting his legs by gradual degrees 
abroad again. " She'll take the luggage up stairs 
the while. Charlotte, see to them bundles !" 

This mandate, which had been delivered with 
great majesty, was obeyed without the slightest de 
mur ; and Charlotte made the best of her way off 
with the packages while Noah held the door open 
and watched her out. 

" She's kept tolerably well under, ain't she ?" he 
asked, as he resumed his seat, in the tone of a keeper 
who has tamed some wild animal. 

" Quite perfect," rejoined Fagin, clapping him on 
the shoulder. " You're a genius, my dear." 

"Why, I suppose if I wasn't I shouldn't be here," 
replied Noah. . " But, I say, she'll be back if yer lose 
time." 

" Now, what do you think ?" said Fagin. " If you 
was to like my friend, could you do better than join 
him ?" 

" Is he in a good way of business ; that's where it 
is!" responded Noah, winking one of his little eyes. 

" The top of the tree ; employs a power of hands ; 
has the very best society iu the profession." 

" Eegular town-maders ?" asked Mr. Claypole. 

" Not a countryman among 'em ; and I don't think 
he'd take you, even on my recommendation, if he 
didn't run rather short of assistants just now," re 
plied Fagin. 

" Should I have to hand over ?" said Noah, slapping 
his breeches-pocket. 

"It couldn't possibly be done without," replied 
Fagin, in a most decided manner. 

" Twenty pound, though it's a lot of money !" 

" Not when it's in a note you can't get rid of," re 
torted Fagiu. " Number and date taken, I suppose ? 
Payment stopped at the bank? Ah! It's not worth 
much to him. It'll have to go abroad, and he 
couldn't sell it for a great deal in the market." 

" When could I see him ?" asked Noah, doubtfully. 

" To-morrow morning." 

" Where ?" 

"Here?" 

" Urn !" said Noah. " What's the wages ?" 

" Live like a gentleman board and lodging, pipes 
and spirits free half of all you earn, and half of all 
the young woman earns," replied Mr. Fagiu. 

Whether Noah Claypole, whose rapacity was none 
of the least comprehensive, would have acceded 
even to these glowing terms, had he been a perfectly 
free agent, is very doubtful; but as he recollected 
that, iu the event of his refusal, it was in the power 
of his new acquaintance to give him up to justice 
immediately (and more unlikely things had come to 
pass), he gradually relented, and said he thought 
that would suit him. 

" But, yer see," observed Noah, " as she will be 
able to do a good deal, I should like to take some 
thing very light." 

"A little fancy work ?'' suggested Fagin. 

"Ah! something of that sort," replied Noah. 
" What do you think would suit me, now ? Some- 



136 



OLIVER TWIST. 



thing not too trying for the strength, and not very 
dangerous, you know. That's the sort .of thing !" 

" I heard you talk of something in the spy way 
upon the others, my dear," said Fagiii. " My friend 
wants somebody who would do that well, very 
much." 

" Why, I did mention that, and I shouldn't mind 
turning my hand to it sometimes," rejoined Mr. Clay- 
pole, slowly; "but it wouldn't pay by itself, you 
know." 

" That's true !" observed the Jew, ruminating, or 
pretending to ruminate. " No, it might not." 

" What do you think, then ?" asked Noah, anxious 
ly regarding him. " Something in the sneaking way, 
where it was pretty sure work, and not much more 
risk than being at home." 

" What do you think of the old ladies ?" asked Fa- 
gin. " There's a good deal of money made in snatch 
ing their bags and parcels and running round the 
corner." 

" Don't they holler out a good deal, and scratch 
sometimes?" asked Noah, shaking his head. "I 
don't think that would answer my purpose. Ain't 
there any other line open ?" 

" Stop !" said Fagiu, laying his hand on Noah's 
knee. " The kinchin lay." 

" What's that ?" demanded Mr. Claypole. 

" The kinchins, my dear," said Fagin, " is the 
young children that's sent on errands by their moth 
ers with sixpences and shillings ; and the lay is just 
to take their money away they've always got it 
ready in their hands then knock 'em into the ken 
nel, and walk off very slow, as if there were nothing 
else the matter but a child fallen down and hurt it 
self. Ha! ha! ha!" 

"Ha! ha!" roared Mr. Claypole, kicking up his 
legs in an ecstasy. " Lord, that's the very thing !" 

" To be sure it is," replied Fagin ; " and you can 
have a few good beats chalked out in Camden Town, 
and Battle Bridge, and neighborhoods like that, where 
they're always going errands ; and you can upset as 
manv kinchins as you want, any hour in the day. 
Hafha! ha!" 

With this, Fagin poked Mr. Claypole in the side, 
and they joined in a burst of laughter both long and 
loud. 

" Well, that's all right !" said Noah, when he had 
recovered himself, and Charlotte had returned. 
" What time to-morrow shall we say ?" 

" Will ten do ?" asked Fagin, adding, as Mr. Clay- 
pole nodded assent, "What name shall I tell my 
good friend ?" 

" Mr. Bolter," replied Noah, who had prepared him 
self for such an emergency. " Mr. Morris Bolter. 
This is Mrs. Bolter." 

" Mrs. Bolter's humble servant," said Fagiu, bow 
ing with grotesque politeness. " I hope I shall know 
her better very shortly." 

" Do you hear the gentleman, Charlotte ?" thun 
dered Mr. Claypole. 

" Yes, Noah dear !" responded Mrs. Bolter, extend 
ing her hand. 

" She calls me Noah, as a sort of fond way of talk 
ing," said Mr. Morris Bolter, late Claypole, turning 
to Fagin. " You understand?" 

" Oh yes, I understand perfectly," replied Fagin, 



telling the truth for once. "Good -night! Good 
night !" 

With many adieus and good wishes, Mr. Fagin 
went his way. Noah Claypole, bespeaking his good 
lady's attention, proceeded to enlighten her relative 
to the arrangement he had made with all that haugh 
tiness and air of superiority becoming, not only a 
member of the sterner sex, but a gentleman who ap 
preciated the dignity of a special appointment on the 
kinchin lay in London and its vicinity. 



CHAPTER XLIIL 

WHEREIN IS SHOWN HOW THE ARTFUL DODGER GOT 
INTO TROUBLE. 

" 4 ND so it was you that was your own friend, 
J_A_ was it ?" asked Mr. Claypole, otherwise Bolter, 
when, by virtue of the compact entered into between 
them, he had removed next day to Fagiu's house, 
" 'Cod, I thought as much last night !" 

" Every man's his own friend, rny dear," replied 
Fagin, with his most insinuating grin. " He hasn't 
as good an one as himself anywhere." 

" Except sometimes," replied Morris Bolter, assum 
ing the air of a man of the world. " Some people 
are nobody's enemies but their own, yer know." 

" Don't believe that," said Fagin. " When a man's 
his own enemy, it's only because he's too much his 
own friend ; not because he's careful for every body 
but himself. Pooh! pooh! There ain't such a 
thing in nature." 

" There oughtn't to be, if there is," replied Mr. 
Bolter. 

" That stands to reason. Some conjurers say that 
number three is the magic number, and some say 
number seven. It's neither, my friend, neither. It's 
number one." 

" Ha ! ha !" cried Mr. Bolter. " Number one for 
ever !" 

" In a little community like ours, my dear," said 
Fagin, who felt it necessary to qualify this position, 
" we have a general number one ; that is, you can't 
consider yourself as number one, without consider 
ing me too as the same, and all the other young peo 
ple." 

" Oh, the devil !" exclaimed Mr. Bolter. 

" You see," pursued Fagin, affecting to disregard 
this interruption, " we are so mixed up together, and 
identified in our interests, that it must be so. For 
instance, it's your object to take care of number one 
meaning yourself." 

" Certainly," replied Mr. Bolter. " Yer about right 
there." 

" Well ! You can't take care of yourself, number 
one, without taking care of me, number one." 

"Number two, you mean," said Mr. Bolter, who 
was largely endowed with the quality of selfishness. 

," No, I don't !" retorted Fagin. " I'm of the same 
importance to you, as you are to yourself." 

" I say," interrupted Mr. Bolter, " yer a very nice 
man, and I'm very fond of yer ; but we ain't quite 
so thick together as all that comes to." 

" Only think," said Fagin, shrugging his shoulders 
and stretching out his hands, " only consider. You've 



THE POST OF HONOR IS A NEWGATE STATION. 



137 



doiie what's a very pretty thing, and what I love you 
for doing ; but what at the same time would put the 
cravat round your throat, that's so very easily tied 
and so very difficult to unloose in plain English, 
the halter!" 

Mr. Bolter put his hand to his neckerchief, as if he 
felt it inconveniently tight, and murmured an assent, 
qualified in tone but not in substance. 

" The gallows," continued Fagin, " the gallows, my 
dear, is an ugly finger-post, which points out a very 
short and sharp turning that has stopped many a 
bold fellow's career on the broad highway. To keep 
in the easy road, and keep it at a distance, is object 
number one with you." 

" Of course it is," replied Mr. Bolter. " What do 
yer talk about such things for ?" 

" Only to show you my meaning clearly," said the 
Jew, raising his eyebrows. " To be able to do that, 
you depend upon me. To keep my little business all 
snug, I depend upon you. The first is your number 
one, the second my number one. The more you value 
your number one, the more careful you must be of 
mine ; so we come at last to what I told you at first 
that a regard for number one-holds us all together, 
and must do so, unless we would all go to pieces in 
company." 

" That's true," rejoined Mr. Bolter, thoughtfully. 
" Oh ! yer a cunning old codger." 

Mr. Fagin saw, with delight, that this tribute to 
his powers was no mere compliment, but that he had 
really impressed his recruit with a sense of his wily 
genius, which it was most important that he should 
entertain in the outset of their acquaintance. To 
strengthen an impression so desirable and useful, he 
followed up the blow by acquainting him, in some 
detail, with the magnitude and extent of his opera 
tions, blending truth and fiction together, as best 
served his purpose, and bringing both to bear with 
so much art that Mr. Bolter's respect visibly in 
creased, and became tempered, at the same time, 
with a degree of wholesome fear which it was high 
ly desirable to awaken. 

" It's this nmtual trust we have in each other 
that consoles me under heavy losses," said Fagin. 
; ' My best hand was taken from me yesterday morn 
ing." 

"You don't mean to say he died?" cried Mr. 
Bolter. 

" No, no," replied Fagin, " not so bad as that. 
Not quite so bad." 

" What ; I suppose he was : 

" Wanted," interposed Fagin. " Yes, he was want 
ed." 

" Yery particular ?" inquired Mr. Bolter. 

" No," replied Fagin, " not very. He was charged 
with attempting to pick a pocket, and they found a 
silver snuff-box on him his own, my dear, his own, 
for he took snuff himself, and was very fond of it. 
They remanded him till to-day, for they thought 
they knew the owner. Ah! he was worth lifry 
boxes, and I'd give the price of as many to have him 
back. You should have known the Dodger, my 
dear ; you should have known the Dodger." 

" Well, but I shall know him, I hope ; don't yer 
think so f ' said Mr. Bolter. 

" I'm doubtful about it," replied Fagin, with a sigh. 



" If they don't get any fresh evidence, it'll only be a 
summary conviction, and we shall have him back 
again after six weeks or so ; but if they do, it's a case 
of lagging. They know what a clever lad he is, he'll 
be a lifer. They'll make the Artful nothing less than 
a lifer." 

" What do yer mean by lagging and a lifer ?" de 
manded Mr. Bolter. " What's the good of talking 
in that way to me ; why don't yer speak so as I can 
understand yer ?" 

Fagin was about to translate these mysterious ex 
pressions into the vulgar tongue ; and, being inter 
preted, Mr. Bolter would have been informed that 
they represented that combination of words, " trans 
portation for life," when the dialogue was cut short 
by the entry of Master Bates, with his hands in his 
breeches-pockets, and his face twisted into a lock of 
semi-comical woe. 

" It's all up, Fagin," said Charley, when he and his 
new companion had been made known to each other. 

" What do you mean ?" 

" They've found the gentleman as owns the box ; 
two or three more's a-coming to 'dentify him ; and 
the Artful's booked for a passage out," replied Master 
Bates. " I must have a full suit of mourning, Fagin, 
and a hat-band, to wisit him in afore he sets out 
upon his travels. To think of Jack Dawkins lum 
my Jack the Dodger the Artful Dodger going 
abroad for a common twopenuy-half-penny sneeze- 
box ! I never thought he'd a done it under a gold 
watch, chain, and seals, at the lowest. Oh, why 
didn't he rob some rich old gentleman of all his wal- 
ables, and go out as a gentleman, and not like a com 
mon prig, without no honor nor glory !" 

With this expression of feeling for his unfortunate 
friend, Master Bates sat himself on the nearest chair 
with an aspect of chagrin and despondency. 

" What do you talk about his having neither hon 
or nor glory for !" exclaimed Fagin, darting an angry 
look at his pupil. "Wasn't he always top-sawyer 
among you all ? Is there one of you that could touch 
him or come near him on any scent ! Eh ?" 

" Not one," replied Master Bates, in a voice render 
ed husky by regret ; " not one." 

" Then what do you talk of?" replied Fagin, angri 
ly ; " what are you blubbering for ?" 

" 'Cause it isn't on the rec-ord, is it ?" said Charley, 
chafed into perfect defiance of his venerable friend 
by the current of his regrets ; " 'cause it can't come 
out in the 'dictment ; 'cause nobody will never know 
half of what he was. How will he stand in the New 
gate Calendar ? P'raps not be there at all. Oh, my 
eye, my eye, wot a blow it is !" 

" Ha ! ha !" cried Fagiu, extending his right hand, 
and turning to Mr. Bolter in a fit of chuckling which 
shook him as though he had the palsy ; " see what a 
pride they take in their profession, my dear. Ain't 
it beautiful ?" 

Mr. Bolter nodded assent; and Fagin, after con 
templating the grief of Charley Bates for some sec 
onds with evident satisfaction, stepped up to that 
young gentleman and patted him on the shoulder. 

"Never mind, Charley," said Fagin, soothingly; 
" it'll come out, it'll be sure to come out. They'll all 
know what a clever fellow he was ; he'll show it him 
self, and not disgrace his old pals and teachers. Think 



138 



OLIVER TWIST. 



how young he is too ! What a distinction, Charley, 
to be lagged at his time of life !" 

" Well, it is a honor, that is !" said Charley, a little 
consoled. 

" He shall have all he wants," continued the Jew. 
"He shall be kept in the Stone Jug, Charley, like a 
gentleman. Like a gentleman ! With his beer ev 
ery day, and money in his pocket to pitch and toss 
with, if he can't spend it." 

"No, shall he, though ?" cried Charley Bates. 

"Ay, that he shall," replied Fagin, " and we'll have 
a big- wig, Charley one that's got the greatest gift 
of the gab to carry on his defense ; and he shall 
make a speech for himself too, if he likes ; and we'll 
road it all in the papers 'Artful Dodger shrieks 
of laughter here the court was convulsed' eh, 
Charley, eh ?" 

"Ha! ha!" laughed Master Bates, "what a lark 
that would be, wouldn't it, Fagin ? I say, how the 
Artful would bother ? em, wouldn't he ?" 

" Would !" cried Fagin. " He shall he will !" 

"Ah, to be sure, so he will," repeated Charley, rub 
bing his hands. 

" I think I see him now !" cried the Jew, bending 
his eyes upon his pupil. 

"So do I!" cried Charley Bates. "Ha! ha! ha! 
so do I ! I see it all afore me, upon my soul I do, Fa- 
gin. What a game ! What a regular game ! All 
the big-wigs trying to look solemn, and Jack Daw- 
kins addressing of 'em as intimate and comfortable 
as if he was the judge's own son making a speech ar- 
ter dinner ha ! ha ! ha !" 

In fact, Mr. Fagin had so well humored his young 
friend's eccentric disposition, that Master Bates, who 
had at first been disposed to consider the imprisoned 
Dodger rather in the light of a victim, now looked 
upon him as the chief actor in a scene of most un 
common and exquisite humor, and felt quite impa 
tient for the arrival of the time when his old com 
panion should have so favorable an opportunity of 
displaying his abilities. 

" We must know how he gets on to-day, by some 
handy means or other," said Fagin. " Let me think." 

" Shall I go ?" asked Charley. 

"Not for the world," replied Fagin. "Are you 
mad, my dear, stark mad, that you'd walk into the 
very place where No, Charley, no. One is enough 
to lose at a time." 

" You don't mean to go yourself, I suppose ?" said 
Charley, with a humorous leer. 

" That wouldn't quite fit," replied Fagin, shaking 
his head. 

" Then why don't you send this new cove ?" asked 
Master Bates, laying his hand on Noah's arm. " No 
body knows him." 

" Why, if he didn't mind" observed Fagin. 

" Mind !" interposed Charley. " What should lie 
have to mind ?" 

" Really nothing, my dear," said Fagin, turning to 
Mr. Bolter, " really nothing." 

" Oh, I dare say about that, yer know,'' observed 
Noah, backing toward the door, and shaking his 
head with a kind of sober alarm. "No, no none 
of that. It's not in my department, that ain't." 

"Wot department has he got, Fagiu?" inquired 
Master Bates, surveying Noah's lank form with much 



disgust. " The cutting away when there's any thing 
wrong, and the eating all the wittles when there's 
every thing right ; is that his branch f ' 

" Never mind," retorted Mr. Bolter ; " and don't 
yer take liberties with yer superiors, little boy, or 
yer'll find yerself in the wrong shop." 

Master Bates laughed so vehemently at this mag 
nificent threat, that it was some time before Fagiu 
could interpose, and represent to Mr. Bolter that he 
incurred no possible danger in visiting the police-of 
fice ; that, inasmuch as no account of the little affair 
in which he had been engaged, nor any description 
of his person, had yet been forwarded to the metrop 
olis, it was very probable that he was not even sus 
pected of having resorted to it for shelter ; and that 
if he were properly disguised, it would be as safe a 
spot for him to visit as any in London, inasmuch as 
it would be, of all places, the very last to which he 
could be supposed likely to resort of his own free 
wiU. 

Persuaded in part by these representations, biit 
overborne in a much greater degree by his fear of 
Fagin, Mr. Bolter at length consented, with a very 
bad grace, to undertake the expedition. By Fagin's 
directions, he immediately substituted for his own 
attire a wagoner's frock, velveteen breeches, and 
leather leggings, all of which articles the Jew had 
at hand. He was likewise furnished with a felt hat 
well garnished with turnpike tickets, and a carter's 
whip. Thus equipped, he was to saunter into the 
office, as some country fellow from Covent Garden 
market might be supposed to do for the gratification 
of his curiosity ; and as he was as awkward, ungain 
ly, and raw-boned a fellow as need be, Mr. Fagiu had 
no fear but that he would look the part to perfection. 

These arrangements completed, he was informed 
of the necessary signs and tokens by which to recog 
nize the Artful Dodger, and was conveyed by Master 
Bates through dark and winding ways to within a 
very short distance of Bow Street. Having described 
the precise situation of the office, and accompanied 
it with copious directions how he was to walk straight 
up the passage, and when he got into the yard take 
the door up the steps on the right-hand side, and 
pull off his hat as he went into the room, Charley 
Bates bade him hurry on alone, and promised to bide 
his return on the spot of their parting. 

Noah Claypole, or Morris Bolter, as the reader 
pleases, punctually followed the directions he had 
received, which Master Bates being pretty well ac 
quainted with the locality were so exact that he 
was enabled to gain the magisterial presence with 
out asking any question, or meeting with any inter 
ruption by the way. He found himself jostled ajnoug 
a crowd of people, chiefly women, who were huddled 
together in a dirty, frowsy room, at the upper end of 
which was a raised platform railed off from the rest, 
with a dock for the prisoners on the left hand against 
the wall, a box for the witnesses in the middle, and 
a desk for the magistrates on the right ; the awful 
locality last named being screened off by a partition 
which concealed the bench from the common gaze, 
and left the vulgar to imagine (if they could) the 
full majesty of justice. 

There were only a couple of women in the dock, 
who were nodding to their admiring friends, Avhile 



MR. BOLTER DISGUISED. 



139 



the clerk read some depositions to a couple of police 
men and a man iu plain clothes who leaned over the 
table. A jailer stood reclining against the dock-rail, 
tapping his nose listlessly with a large key, except 
when he repressed an undue tendency to conversa 
tion among the idlers by proclaiming silence, or look 
ed sternly up to bid some woman " Take that baby 
out," when the gravity of justice was disturbed by 
feeble cries, half-smothered in the mother's shawl, 
from some meagre infant. The room smelled close 
and unwholesome ; the walls were dirt-discolored, 
and the ceiling blackened. There was an old smoky 
bust over the mantel-shelf, and a dusty clock above 
the dock the only thing present that seemed to go 
on as it ought ; for depravity, or poverty, or an ha 
bitual acquaintance with both, had left a taint on all 
the animate matter, hardly less unpleasant than the 
thick, greasy scum on every inanimate object that 
frowned upon it. 

Noah looked eagerly about him for the Dodger; 
but although there were several women who would 
have done very well for that distinguished charac 
ter's mother or sister, and more than one man who 
might be supposed to bear a strong resemblance to 
his father, nobody at all answering the description 
given him of Mr. Dawkius was to be seen. He wait 
ed in a state of much suspense and uncertainty until 
the women, being committed for trial, went flaunt 
ing out, and then was quickly relieved by the ap 
pearance of another prisoner who he felt at once 
could be no other than the object of his visit. 

It was indeed Mr. Dawkins, who, shuffling into the 
office with the big coat sleeves tucked up as usual, 
his left hand in his pocket, and his hat in his right 
hand, preceded the jailer with a rolling gait alto 
gether indescribable, and, taking his place in the 
dock, requested, in an audible voice, to know what 
he was placed in that 'ere disgraceful sitivation for. 

" Hold your tongue, will you ?" said the jailer. 

" I'm an Englishman, ain't I ?" rejoined the Dodger. 
" Where are my priwileges ?" 

" You'll get your privileges soon enough," retorted 
the jailer, " and pepper with 'em." 

" We'll see wot the Secretary of State for the 
Home Affairs has got to say to the beaks, if I don't," 
replied Mr. Dawkins. " Now then ! wot is this here 
business ? I shall thank the madg'strates to dispose 
of this here little affair, and not to keep me while 
they read the paper, for I've got an appointment 
with a genelman iu the City ; and as I'm a man of 
my word, and wery punctual in business matters, 
he'll go away if I ain't there to my time, and then 
pr'aps there won't be an action for damage against 
them as kep me away. Oh no, certainly not !" 

At this point, the Dodger, with a show of being 
very particular with a view to proceedings to be had 
thereafter, desired the jailer to communicate "the 
names of them two files as was on the bench;" 
which so tickled the spectators that they laughed 
almost as heartily as Master Bates could have done 
if he had heard the request. 

" Silence there !" cried the jailer. 

" What is this ?" inquired one of the magistrates. 

" A pick-pocketing case, your worship." 

"Has the boy ever been here before ?" 

" He ought to have been a many times," replied 



the jailer. " He has been pretty well everywhere 
else. / know him well, your worship." 

"Oh! you know me, do you?" cried the Artful, 
making a note of the statement. "Wery good. 
That's a case of deformation of character, any way." 

Here there w y as another laugh, and another cry of 
silence. 

" Now, then, where are the witnesses ?" said the 
clerk. 

"Ah! that's right," added the Dodger. "Where 
are they ? I should like to see 'em," 

This wish was immediately gratified, for a police 
man stepped forward who had seen the prisoner at 
tempt the pocket of an unknown gentleman in a 
crowd, and, indeed, take a handkerchief therefrom, 
which, being a very old one, he deliberately put 
back again, after trying it on his own countenance. 
For this reason he took the Dodger into custody as 
soon as he could get near him, and the said Dodger, 
being searched, had upon his person a silver snuff 
box, with the owner's name engraved upon the lid. 
This gentleman had been discovered on reference to 
the Court Guide ; and being then and there present, 
swore that the snuff-box was his, and that he had 
missed it on the previous day, the moment he had 
disengaged himself from the crowd before referred 
to. He had also remarked a young gentleman in 
the throng particularly active in making his way 
about, and that young gentleman was the prisoner 
before him. 

" Have yon any thing to ask this witness, boy ?" 
said the magistrate. 

" I wouldn't abase myself by descending to hold 
no conversation with him," replied the Dodger. 

" Have you any thing to say at all ?" 

" Do you hear his worship ask if you've any thing 
to say ?" inquired the jailer, nudging the silent Dodg 
er with his elbow. 

" I beg your pardon," said the Dodger, looking up 
with an air of abstraction. " Did you redress your 
self to me, my man ?" 

"I never see such an out-and-out young waga- 
bond, your worship," observed the officer, with a 
griu. " Do you mean to say any thing, you young 
shaver ?" 

" No," replied the Dodger, " not here, for this ain't 
the shop for justice ; besides which, my attorney is 
a-breakfasting this morning with the Wice-president 
of the House of Commons ; but I shall have some 
thing to say elsewhere, and so will he, and so will 
a wery numerous and 'spectable circle of acqiiaint- 
ance as'll make them beaks wish they'd never been 
born, or that they'd got their footmen to hang 'em 
up to their own hat-pegs 'afore they let 'em come out 
this morning to try it on upon me. I'll 

"There! He's fully committed!" interposed the 
clerk. " Take him away." 

" Come on," said the jailer. 

" Oh, ah ! I'll come on," replied the Dodger, brush 
ing his hat with the palm of his hand. "Ah 1 (to 
the Bench) it's no use your looking frightened ; I 
won't show you no mercy, not a ha'porth of it. 
You'll pay for this, my fine fellers. I wouldn't be 
you for something. I wouldn't go free, now, if you 
was to fall down on your knees and ask me. Here, 
carry me off to prison ! Take me away !" 



140 



OLIVER TWIST. 



With these last words, the Dodger suffered him 
self to be led oft" by the collar, threatening, till he 
got into the yard, to make a parliamentary business 
of it, and then grinning in the officer's face with great 
glee and self-approval. 

Having seen him locked up by himself in a little 
cell, Noah made the best of his way back to where 
he had left Master Bates. After waiting here some 
time, he was joined by that young gentleman, who 
had prudently abstained from showing himself until 
he had looked carefully abroad from a snug retreat 
aud ascertained that his new friend had not been fol 
lowed by any impertinent person. 



bered that both the crafty Jew and the brutal Sikes 
had confided to her schemes which had been hidden 
from all others, in the full confidence that she was 
trustworthy, and beyond the reach of their suspicion. 
Vile as those schemes were, desperate as were their 
originators, and bitter as were her feelings toward Fa- 
gin, who had led her, step by step, deeper and deeper 
down into an abyss of crime and misery whence was 
no escape, still there were times when, even toward 
him, she felt some relenting lest her disclosure should 
bring him within the iron grasp he had so long 
eluded, and he should fall at last richly as he mer 
ited such a fate by her hand. 




"WUAT IS THIS?" INQUIRED ONE OP THE MAGISTRATES. 1< A PICK-POCKETING CASE, YOUB WO3SI1IP." 



The two hastened back together, to bear to Mr. Fa- 
gin the animating news that the Dodger was doing 
full justice to his bringing up, and establishing for 
himself a glorious reputation. 



CHAPTER XLIV. 

THE TIME ARRIVES FOR NANCY TO REDEEM HER PLEDGE 
TO ROSE MAYLIE. SHE FAILS. 

ADEPT as she was in all the arts of cunning and 
dissimulation, the girl Nancy could not wholly 
conceal the effect which the knowledge of the step 
she had taken wrought upon her mind. She remem- 



But these were the mere wanderings of a mind un 
able wholly to detach itself from old companions and 
associations, though enabled to fix itself steadily on 
one object, and resolved not to be turned aside by 
any consideration. Her fears for Sikes would have 
been more powerful inducements to recoil while there 
was yet time, but she had stipulated that her secret 
should be rigidly kept; she had dropped no clue 
which could lead to his discovery ; she had refused, 
even for his sake, a refuge from all the guilt and 
wretchedness that encompassed her and what more 
could she do ! She was resolved. 

Though all her mental struggles terminated in this 
conclusion, they forced themselves upon her again 



THE KEY TURNED ON NANCY. 



141 



and again, and left their traces too. She grew pale 
and thin, even within a few days. At times she took 
no heed of what was passing before her, or no part 
in conversations where once she would have been the 
loudest. At other times she laughed without merri 
ment, and was noisy without cause or meaning. At 
others often within a moment afterward she sat 
silent and dejected, brooding with her head upon 
her hands, while the very effort by which she roused 
herself told, more forcibly than even these indica 
tions, that she was ill at ease, and that her thoughts 
were occupied with matters very different and dis 
tant from those in course of discussion by her com 
panions. 

It was Sunday night, and the bell of the nearest 
church struck the hour. Sikes and the Jew were 
talking, but they paused to listen. The girl looked 
up from the low seat on which she crouched and list 
ened too. Eleven. 

"An hour this side of midnight," said Sikes, rais 
ing the blind to look out, and returning to his seat. 
" Dark and heavy it is too. A good night for busi 
ness this." 

"Ah!" replied Fagin. "What a pity, Bill, my 
dear, that there's none quite ready to be done." 

"You're right for once," replied Sikes, gruffly. 
" It is a pity, for I'm in the humor too." 

Fagin sighed, and shook his head despondingly. 

"We must make up for lost time when we've got 
things into a good train. That's all I know," said 
Sikes. 

" That's the way to talk, my dear," replied Fagin, 
venturing to pat him on the shoulder. " It does me 
good to hear you." 

" Does you good, does it !" cried Sikes. " Well, so 
be it." 

" Ha ! ha ! ha !" laughed Fagin, as if he were re 
lieved by'even this concession. "You're like your 
self to-night, Bill ! Quite like yourself." 

" I don't feel like myself wnen you lay that with 
ered old claw on my shoulder, so take it away," said 
Sikes, casting off the Jew's hand. 

" It makes you nervous, Bill reminds you of be 
ing nabbed, does it ?" said Fagiu, determined not to 
be offended. 

" Eeminds me of being nabbed by the devil," re 
turned Sikes. " There never was another man with 
such a face as yours, unless it was your father, and 
I suppose he is singeing his grizzled red beard by 
this time, unless you came straight from the old 'un 
without any father at all betwixt you; which I 
shouldn't wonder at a bit." 

Fagin offered no reply to this compliment; but, 
pulling Sikes by the sleeve, pointed his finger toward 
Nancy, who had taken advantage of the foregoing 
conversation to put on her bonnet, and was now 
leaving the room. 

" Halloo !" cried Sikes. " Nance ! Where's the gal 
going to at this time of night ?" 

" Not far." 

"What answer's that?" returned Sikes. "Where 
axe you going ?" 

" I say, not far." 

"And I say, where ?" retorted Sikes. " Do you 
hear me ?" 

" I don't know where," replied the girl. 



" Then I do," said Sikes, more in the spirit of ob 
stinacy than because he had any real objection to 
the girl going Avhere she listed. "Now r here. Sit 
down." 

" I'm not well. I told yon that before," rejoined 
the girl. " I want a breath of air." 

" Put your head out of the winder," replied Sikes. 

" There's not enough there," said the girl. " I 
want it in the street." 

" Then you won't have it," replied Sikes. With 
which assurance he rose, locked the door, took the 
key out, and pulling her bonnet from her head, flung 
it up to the top of an old press. 

" There !" said the robber. " Now stop quietly 
where you are, will you ?" 

" It's not such a matter as a bonnet would keep 
me," said the girl, turning very pale. "What do you 
mean, Bill ? Do you know what you're doing ?" 

" Know what I'm Oh !" cried Sikes, turning to 
Fagin, "she's out of her senses, you know, or she 
daren't talk to me in that way." 

" You'll drive me on to something desperate," mut 
tered the girl, placing both hands upon her breast as 
though to keep down by force some violent outbreak. 
" Let me go, will you this minute this instant !" 

"No!" said Sikes. 

"Tell him to let me go, Fagin. He had better. 
It'll be better for him. Do you hear me?" cried 
Nancy, stamping her foot upon the ground. 

" Hear you !" repeated Sikes, turning round in his 
chair to confront her. "Ay! And if I hear you for 
half a minute longer, the dog shall have such a grip 
on your throat as'll tear some of that screaming voice 
out. Wot has come over you, you jade ? Wot is it ?" 

" Let me go," said the girl with great earnestness ; 
then sitting herself down on the floor before the 
door, she said, "Bill, let me go; you don't know 
what you are doing. You don't, indeed. For only 
one hour do do !" 

" Cut my limbs off one by one," cried Sikes, seiz 
ing her roughly by the arm, " if I don't think the 
girl's stark raving mad. Get up !" 

" Not till you let me go not till you let me go 
never never!" screamed the girl. Sikes looked on 
for a minute, watching his opportunity, and sudden 
ly pinioning her hands, dragged her, struggling and 
wrestling with him by the way, into a small room ad 
joining, where he sat himself on a bench, and, thrust 
ing her into a chair, held her down by force. She 
struggled and implored by turns until twelve o'clock 
had struck, and then, wearied and exhausted, ceased 
to contest the point any further. With a caution, 
backed by many oaths, to make no more efforts to 
go out that night, Sikes left her to recover at leisure 
and rejoined Fagin. 

"Whew!" said the house-breaker, wiping the per-: 
spiration from his face. "Wot a precious strange 
gal that is!" 

" You may say that, Bill," replied Fagin, thought 
fully. " You may say that." 

" Wot did she take it into her head to go out to 
night for, do you think ?" asked Sikes. " Come ; 
you should know her better than me. Wot does it 
mean ?" 

"Obstinacy; woman's obstinacy, I suppose, my 
dear." 



142 



OLIVER TWIST. 



" Well, I suppose it is," growled Sikes. " I thought 
I had tained her, but she's as bad as ever." 

"Worse," said Fagin, thoughtfully. " I never 
knew her like this, for such a little cause." 

" Nor I," said Sikes. " I thiuk she's got a touch 
of that fever in her blood yet, and it won't come out 
eh?" 

" Like enough." 

" I'll let her a little blood, without troubling the 
doctor, if she's took that way again," said Sikes. 

Fagin nodded an expressive approval of this mode 
of treatment. 

" She was hanging about me all day, and night 
too, when I was stretched on my back ; and you, like 
a black-hearted wolf as you are, kept yourself aloof," 
said Sikes. "We was very poor too, all the time, and 
I think, one way or other, it's worried and fretted 
her ; and that being shut up here so long has made 
her restless eh ?" 

" That's it, rny dear," replied the Jew, in a whisper. 
"Hush!" 

As he uttered these words, the girl herself appear 
ed and resumed her former seat. Her eyes were 
swollen and red ; she rocked herself to and fro, toss 
ed her head, and, after a little time, burst out laugh 
ing. 

"Why, now she's on the other tack!" exclaimed 
Sikes, turning a look of excessive surprise on his 
companion. 

Fagin nodded to him to take no further notice 
just then, and in a few minutes the girl subsided 
into her accustomed demeanor. Whispering Sikes 
that there was no fear of her relapsing, Fagin took 
up his hat and bade him good-night. He paused 
when he reached the room-door, and, looking round, 
asked if somebody would light him down the dark 
stairs. 

" Light him down," said Sikes, who was filling his 
pipe. " It's a pity he should break his neck him 
self, and disappoint the sight -seers. Show him a 
light." 

Nancy followed the old man down stairs with a 
candle. When they reached the passage, he laid his 
finger on his lip, and drawing close to the girl, said, 
in a whisper, 

" What is it, Nancy, dear ?" 

"What do you mean?" replied the girl, in the 
same tone. 

" The reason of all this," replied Fagin. " If he " 
he pointed with his skinny forefinger up the stairs 
" is so hard with you (he's a brute, Nance, a brute- 
beast), why don't you 

" Well ?" said the girl, as Fagin paused, with his 
mouth almost touching her ear, and his eyes looking 
into hers. 

. "No matter just now. We'll talk of this again. 
You have a friend in me, Nance a staunch friend. 
I have the means at hand, quiet and close. If you 
want revenge on those that treat you like a dog 
like a dog ! worse than his dog, for he humors him 
sometimes come to me. I say, come to me. He is 
the mere hound of a day, but you know me of old, 
Nance," 

" I know you well," replied the girl, without man 
ifesting the least emotion. " Good-night." 

She shrank back, as Fagin offered to lay his hand 



on hers, but said good-night again in a steady voice, 
and, answering his parting look with a nod of intelli 
gence, closed the door between them. 

Fagin walked toward his own home, intent upon 
the thoughts that were working within his brain. 
He had conceived the idea not from what had just 
passed, though that had tended to confirm him, but 
slowly and by degrees that Nancy, wearied of the 
house-breaker's brutality, had conceived an attach 
ment for some new friend. Her altered manner, her 
repeated absences from home alone, her comparative 
indifference to the interests of the gang for which 
she had once been so zealous, and, added to these, her 
desperate impatience to leave home that night at a 
particular hour, all favored the supposition, and ren 
dered it, to him at least, almost matter of certainty. 
The object of this new liking was not among his 
myrmidons. He would be a valuable acquisition 
with such an assistant as Nancy, and must (thus Fa- 
gin argued) be secured without delay. 

There was another and a darker object to be gain 
ed. Sikes knew too much, and his ruffian taunts 
had not galled Fagin the less because the wounds 
were hidden. The girl must know well that, if she 
shook him off, she could never be safe from his fury, 
and that it would be surely wreaked to the maim 
ing of limbs, or perhaps the loss of life on the ob 
ject of her more recent fancy. "With a little per 
suasion," thought Fagin, " what more likely than 
that she would consent to poison him? Women 
have done such things, and worse, to secure the same 
object before now. There Avould be the dangerous 
villain, the man I hate, gone ; another secured in his 
place ; and my influence over the girl, with a knowl 
edge of this crime to back it, unlimited." 

These things passed through the mind of Fagin 
during the short time he sat alone in the house-break 
er's room ; and with them uppermost in his thoughts, 
he had taken the opportunity afterward afforded 
him of sounding the girl in the broken hints he 
threw out at parting. There was no expression of 
surprise, no assumption of an inability to understand 
his meaning. The girl clearly comprehended it. Her 
glance at parting showed that. 

But perhaps she would recoil from a plot to take 
the life of Sikes, and that was one of the chief ends 
to be attained. " How," thought Fagiu, as he crept 
homeward, " can I increase my influence with her ? 
what new power can I acquire ?" 

Such brains are fertile in expedients. If, without 
extracting a confession from herself, he laid a watch, 
discovered the object of her altered regard, and threat 
ened to reveal the whole history to Sikes (of whom 
she stood in no common fear) unless she entered into 
his designs, could he not secure her compliance ? 

"I can," said Fagiu, almost aloud. " She durst 
not refuse me then. Not for her life, not for her life ! 
I have it all. The means are ready, and shall be set 
to work. I shall have you yet ?" 

He cast back a dark look, and a threatening mo 
tion of the hand, toward the spot where he had left 
the bolder villain ; and went on his way, busying 
his bony hands in the folds of his tattered garment, 
which he wrenched tightly in his grasp, as though 
there were a hated enemy crushed with every mo 
tion of his fingers. 



BOLTER AGAIN IX EEQUEST. 



143 



CHAPTER XLV. 

NOAH CLATPOLE 18 EMPLOYED BY FAGIN ON A SECRET 
MISSION. 

THE old man was up betimes next morning, and 
waited impatiently for the appearance of his 
new associate, who, after a delay that seemed inter 
minable, at length presented himself, and commenced 
a voracious assault on the breakfast. 

" Bolter," said Fagin, drawing up a chair and seat 
ing himself opposite Morris Bolter. 

"Well, here I am," returned Noah. "What's the 
matter ? Don't yer ask me to do any thing till I 
have done eating. That's a great fault in this place. 
Yer never get time enough over yer meals." 

" You can talk as you eat, can't you ?" said Fagin, 
cursing his dear young friend's greediness from the 
very bottom of his heart. 

" Oh yes, I can talk. I get on better when I 
talk," said Noah, cutting a monstrous slice of bread. 
"Where's Charlotte?" 

" Out," said Fagin. " I sent her out this morning 
with the other young woman, because I wanted us 
to be alone." 

" Oh !" said Noah. " I wish yer'd ordered her to 
make some buttered toast first. W T ell, talk away. 
Yer won't interrupt me." 

There seemed, indeed, no great fear of any thing 
interrupting him, as he had evidently sat down with 
a determination to do a great deal of business. 

" You did well yesterday, my dear," said Fagin. 
" Beautiful ! Six shillings and ninepence half-pen 
ny on the very first day ! The kinchin lay will be 
a fortune to you." 

" Don't you forget to add three pint-pots and a 
milk-can," said Mr. Bolter. 

" No, no, my dear. The pint-pots were great 
strokes of genius ; but the milk-can was a perfect 
masterpiece." 

" Pretty well, I think, for a beginner," remarked 
Mr. Bolter, complacently. " The pots I took off airy 
railings, and the milk-can was standing by itself 
outside a public-house. I thought it might get 
rusty with the rain, or catch cold, yer know eh ? 
Ha! ha! ha!" 

Fagin affected to laugh very heartily ; and Mr. 
Bolter having had his laugh out, took a series of 
large bites, which finished his first hunk of bread- 
and-butter, and assisted Mmself to a second. 

" I want you, Bolter," said Fagin, leaning over 
the table, " to do a piece of work for me, my dear, 
that needs great care and caution." 

" I say," rejoined Bolter, " don't yer go shoving 
me into danger, or sending me to any more o' yer 
police-offices. That don't suit me, that don't ; and 
so I tell yer." 

" There's not the smallest danger in it not the 
very smallest," said the Jew ; " it's only to dodge a 
woman." 

"An old woman ?" demanded Mr. Bolter. 

" A young one," replied Fagiu. 

" I can do that pretty well, I know," said Bolter. 
" I was a regular cunning sneak when I was at 
school. What am I to dodge her for ? Not to " 

" Not to do any thing, but to tell me where she 
goes, who she sees, and, if possible, what she says ; 



to remember the street, if it is a street, or the house, 
if it is a house ; and to bring me back all the in 
formation you can." 

" What'U yer give me ?" asked Noah, setting down 
his cup and looking his employer eagerly in the face. 

"If you do it well, a pound, my dear. One 
pound," said Fagin, wishing to interest him in the 
scent as much as possible. "And that's what I nev 
er gave yet for any job of work where there wasn't 
valuable consideration to be gained." 

" Who is she ?" inquired Noah. 

" One of us." 

" Oh Lor !" cried Noah, curling up his nose. " Yer 
doubtful of her, are yer ?" 

" She has found out some new friends, my dear, 
and I must know who they are," replied Fagin. 

" I see," said Noah, " Just to have the pleasure 
of knowing them, if they're respectable people eh ? 
Ha ! ha ! ha ! I'm your man." 

" I knew you would be," cried Fagin, elated by 
the success of his proposal. 

" Of course, of course," replied Noah. " Where is 
she? Where am I to wait for her? WTiere am I to go ?" 

"All that, my dear, you shall hear from me. I'll 
point her out at the proper time," said Fagiu. " You 
keep ready, and leave the rest to me." 

That night, and the next, and the next sgain, the 
spy sat booted and equipped in his carter's dress, 
ready to turn out at a word from Fagin. Six nights 
passed six long weary nights and on each Fagin 
came home with a disappointed face, and briefly in 
timated that it was not yet time. On the seventh 
he returned earlier, and with an exultation he could 
not conceal. It was Sunday. 

" She goes abroad to-night," said Fagin, " and on 
the right errand, I'm sure ; for she has been alone all 
day, and the man she is afraid of will not be back 
much before day -break. Come with me. Quick !" 

Noah started up without saying a word ; for the 
Jew was in a state of such intense excitement that 
it infected him. They left the house stealthily, and, 
hurrying through a labyrinth of streets, arrived at 
length before a public-house, which Noah recognized 
as the same in which he had slept on the night of 
his arrival in London. 

It was past eleven o'clock, and the door was closed. 
It opened softly on its hinges as Fagin gave a low 
whistle. They entered without noise, and the door 
was closed behind them. 

Scarcely venturing to whisper, but substituting 
dumb show for words, Fagin and the young Jew who 
had admitted them pointed out the pane of glass to 
Noah, and signed to him to climb up and observe the 
person in the adjoining room. 

" Is that the woman ?" he asked, scarcely above his 
breath. 

Fagin nodded yes. 

" I can't see her face well," whispered Noah. " She 
is looking down, and the candle is behind her." 

" Stay there," whispered Fagin. He signed to Bar 
ney, who withdrew. In an instant the lad entered 
the room adjoining, and, under pretense of snuffing 
the candle, moved it in the required position, and, 
speaking to the girl, caused her to raise her face. 

" I see her now," cried the spy. 

"Plainly?" 



144 



OLIVER TWIST, 



" I should know her among a thousand." 
He hastily descended as the room-door opened, and 
the girl came out. Fagin drew him behind a small 
partition which was curtained off, and they held their 
breaths as she passed within a few feet of their place 
of concealment and emerged by the door at which 
they had entered. 

" Hist !" cried the lad who held the door. " Dow !" 
Noah exchanged a look with Fagin, and darted out. 
"To the left," whispered the lad: "take the left 
had, and keep od the other side." 

He did so ; and, by the light of the lamps, saw the 
girl's retreating figure, already at some distance be 
fore him. He advanced as near as he considered pru 
dent, and kept on the opposite side of the street, the 



was that of a woman, who looked eagerly about her 
as though in quest of some expected object ; the other 
figure was that of a man, who slunk along in the 
deepest shadow he could find, and, at some distance, 
accommodated his pace to hers stopping when she 
stopped, and, as she moved again, creeping stealthily 
on, but never allowing himself, in the ardor of his 
pursuit, to gain upon her footsteps. Thus they cross 
ed the bridge, from the Middlesex to the Surrey shore, 
when the woman, apparently disappointed in her 
anxious scrutiny of the foot-passengers, turned back. 
The movement was sudden; but he who watched 
her was not thrown off his guard by it ; for, shrink 
ing into one of the recesses which surmount the piers 
of the bridge, and leaning over the parapet, the bet- 




" WHEN SHE WAS ABOUT THE SAME DISTANCE IN ADVANCE AS SHE HAD BEEN BEFOEE, HE SLIPPED QUIETLY DOWN, AND FOLLOWED 

HER AGAIN." 



better to observe her motions. She looked nervous 
ly round twice or thrice, and once stopped to let two 
men who were following close behind her pass on. 
She seemed to gather courage as she advanced, and 
to walk with a steadier and firmer step. The spy 
preserved the same relative distance between them, 
and followed, with his eye upon her. 



CHAPTEE XL VI. 

THE APPOINTMENT KEPT. 

rMHE church clocks chimed three quarters past elev- 
_L en, as two figures emerged on London Bridge. 
One, which advanced with a swift and rapid step, 



ter to conceal his figure, he suffered her to pass on 
the opposite pavement. When she was about the 
same distance in advance as she had been before, he 
slipped quietly down, and followed her again. At 
nearly the centre of the bridge she stopped. The 
man stopped too. 

It was a very dark night. The day had been un 
favorable, and at that hour and place there were few 
people stirring. Such as there were hurried quickly 
past, very possibly without seeing, but certainly with 
out noticing, either the woman or the man who kept 
her in view. Their appearance was not calculated 
to attract the importunate regards of such of Lon 
don's destitute population as chanced to take their 
way over the bridge that night in search of some 
cold arch or doorless hovel wherein to lay their 



THE SPY UNDER THE WALL. 



145 



heads ; they stood there iu silence, neither speaking 
nor spoken to by any one who passed. 

A mist hung over the river, deepening the red glare 
of the tires that burned upon the small craft moored 
oft' the different wharves, and rendering darker and 
more indistinct the inurky buildings on the banks. 
The old smoke-stained store-houses on either side rose 
heavy and dull from the dense mass of roofs and ga 
bles, and frowned sternly upon water too black to 
reflect even their lumbering shapes. The tower of 
old Saint Saviour's Church, and the spire of Saint 
Magnus, so long the giant-warders of the ancient 
bridge, were visible in the gloom; but the forest 
of shipping below bridge, and the thickly scattered 
spires of churches above, were nearly all hidden 
from the sight. 

The girl had taken a few restless turns to and fro, 
closely watched meanwhile by her hidden observer, 
when the heavy bell of St. Paul's tolled for the death 
of another day. Midnight had come upon the crowd 
ed city. The palace, the night-cellar, the jail, the 
mad-house ; the chambers of birth and death, of health 
and sickness, the rigid face of the corpse and the calm 
sleep of the child midnight was upon them all. 

The hour had not struck two minutes, when a 
young lady, accompanied by a gray-haired gentle 
man, alighted from a hackney-carriage within a short 
distance of the bridge, and, having dismissed the ve 
hicle, walked straight toward it. They had scarcely 
set foot upon its pavement, when the girl started, 
and immediately made toward them. 

They walked onward, looking about them with the 
air of persons who entertained some very slight ex 
pectation which had little chance of being realized, 
when they were suddenly joined by this new associ 
ate. They halted with an exclamation of surprise, 
but suppressed it immediately; for a man in the 
garments of a countryman came close up brushed 
against them, indeed at that precise moment. 

" Not here," said Nancy, hurriedly, " I am afraid to 
speak to you here. Come away out of the public 
road down the steps yonder !" 

As she uttered these words, and indicated with 
her hand the direction in which she wished them to 
proceed, the countryman looked round, and roughly 
asking what they took up the whole pavement for, 
passed on. 

The steps to which the girl had pointed were those 
which, on the Surrey bank, and on the same side of 
the bridge as Saint Saviour's Church, form a landing- 
stairs from the river. To this spot the man bearing 
the appearance of a countryman hastened unobserved, 
and after a moment's survey of the place, he began 
to descend. 

These stairs are a part of the bridge ; they consist 
of three flights. Just below the end of the second, 
going down, the stone wall on the left terminates in 
an ornamental pilaster facing toward the Thames. 
At this point the lower steps widen, so that a person 
turning that angle of the wall is necessarily unseen 
by any others on the stairs who chance to be above 
him, if only a step. The countryman looked hasti 
ly round when he reached this point ; and as there 
seemed no better place of concealment, and, the tide 
l>eing out, there was plenty of room, he slipped aside, 
with his back to the pilaster, and there waited, pret- 
K 



ty certain that they would come no lower, and that 
even if he could not hear what was said, he could 
follow them again with safety. 

So tardily stole the time in this lonely place, and 
so eager was the spy to penetrate the motives of an 
interview so different from what he had been led to 
expect, that he more than once gave the matter up 
for lost, and persuaded himself either that they had 
stopped far above, or had resorted to some entirely 
different spot to hold their mysterious conversation. 
He was on the point of emerging from his hiding- 
place and regaining the road above, when he heard 
the sound of footsteps, and directly afterward of 
voices almost close at his ear. 

He drew himself straight upright against the wall, 
and, scarcely breathing, listened attentively. 

" This is far enough," said a voice, which was evi 
dently that of the gentleman. " I will not suffer the 
young lady to go any farther. Many people would 
have distrusted you too much to have come even so 
far, but you see I am willing to humor you." 

" To humor me !" cried the voice of the girl whom 
he had followed. " You're considerate, indeed, sir. 
To humor me ! Well, well, it's no matter." 

" Why, for what," said the gentleman, in a kinder 
tone, " for what purpose can you have brought us to 
this strange place ? Why not have let me speak to 
you above there, where it is light, and there is some 
thing stirring, instead of bringing us to this dark 
and dismal hole ?" 

" I told you before," replied Nancy, " that I was 
afraid to speak to you there. I don't know why it 
is," said the girl, shuddering, " but I have such a 
fear and dread upon me to-night that I can hardly 
stand." 

"A fear of what ?" asked the gentleman, who seem 
ed to pity her. 

" I scarcely know of what," replied the girl. " I 
wish I did. Horrible thoughts of death, and shrouds 
with blood upon them, and a fear that has made me 
burn as if I was on tire, have been upon me all day. 
I was reading a book to-night, to while the time 
away, and the same things came into the print." 

" Imagination," said the gentleman, soothing her. 

"No imagination," replied the girl, in a hoarse 
voice. "I'll swear I saw ' coffin ' written in every 
page of the book in large black letters ay, and they 
carried one close to me in the streets to-night." 

" There is nothing unusual in that," said the gen 
tleman. " They have passed me often." 

" Real ones," rejoined the girl. " This was not." 

There was something so uncommon iu her manner. 
that the flesh of the concealed listener crept as IK 
heard the girl utter these words, and the blood chill 
ed within him. He had never experienced a greater 
relief than in hearing the sweet voice of the young 
lady as she begged her to be calm, and not allow her 
self to become the prey of such fearful fancies. 

" Speak to her kindly," said the young lady to her 
companion. " Poor creature ! She seems to need it.'' 

"Your haughty religious people would have held 
their heads up to see me as I am to-night, and 
preached, of flames and vengeance," cried the girl. 
" Oh, dear lady, why ar'n't those who claim to be 
God's own folks as gentle and as kind to us poor 
wretches as you, who, having youth, and beauty, and 



146 



OLIVER TWIST. 



all that they have lost, might be a little proud, in 
stead of so much humbler ?" 

"Ah!" said the gentleman. "A Turk turns his 
face, after washing it well, to the East, when he says 
his prayers; these good people, after giving their 
tact's such a rub against the World as to take the 
smiles off, turn with no less regularity to the darkest 
side of Heaven. Between the Mussulman and the 
Pharisee, commend me to the first !" 

These words appeared to be addressed to the young 
lady, and were perhaps uttered with the view of af 
fording Nancy time to recover herself. The gentle 
man shortly afterward addressed himself to her. 

" You were not here last Sunday night," he said. 

" I couldn't come," replied Nancy ; " I was kept by 
force." 

" By whom ?" 

" Him that I told the young lady of before." 

" You were not suspected of holding any commu 
nication with any body on the subject which has 
brought us here to-night, I hope ?" asked the old 
gentleman. 

"No," replied the girl, shaking her head. "It's 
not very easy for me to leave him unless he knows 
why ; I couldn't have seen the lady when I did, but 
that I gave him a drink of laudanum before I came 
away." 

" Did he awake before you returned ?" inquired the 
gentleman. 

" No ; and neither he nor any of them suspect me." 

" Good," said the gentleman. " Now listen to me." 

" I am ready," replied the girl, as he paused for a 
moment. 

" This young lady," the gentleman began, " has 
communicated to me, and to some other friends who 
can be safely trusted, what you told her nearly a 
fortnight since. I confess to you that I had doubts 
at first whether you were to be implicitly relied 
upon, but now I firmly believe you are." 

" I am," said the girl, earnestly. 

"I repeat that I firmly believe it. To prove ro 
you that I am disposed to trust you, I tell you, with 
out reserve, that we propose to extort the secret, 
whatever it may be, from the fears of this man 
Monks. But if if " said the gentleman, " he can 
not be secured, 'or, if secured, can not be acted upon 
as we wish, yoii must deliver up the Jew." 

" Fagin !" cried the girl, recoiling. 

" That man must be delivered up by you," said the 
gentleman. 

" I will not do it ! I will never do it !" replied the 
girl. " Devil that he is, and worse than devil as he 
has been to me, I will never do that." 

" Yon will not ?" said the gentleman, who seemed 
fully prepared for this answer. 

" Never !" returned the girl. 

" Tell me why ?" 

" For one reason," rejoined the girl, firmly, " for one 
reason, that the lady knows and will stand by me in 
I know she will, for I have her promise ; and for this 
other reason besides, that, bad life as he has led, I 
have led a bad life too : there are many of us who 
have kept the same courses together, and I'll not 
turn upon them, who might any of them have 
turned upon me, but didn't, bad as they are." 

" Then," said the gentleman, quickly, as if this had 



been the point he had been aiming to attain, "put 
Monks into my hands, and leave him to me to deal 
with." 

" What if he turns against the others ?" 

" I promise you that in that case, if the truth is 
forced from him, there the matter will rest ; there 
must be circumstances in Oliver's little history 
which it would be painful to drag before the public- 
eye, and, if the truth is once elicited, they shall go 
scot free." 

"And if it is not ?" suggested the girl. 

"Then, "pursued the gentleman, " this Fagin shall 
not be brought to justice without your consent. In 
such a case I could show you reasons, I think, which 
would induce you to yield it." 

" Have I the lady's promise for that ?" asked the 
girl. 

" You have," replied Rose. " My true and faithful 
pledge." 

" Monks would never learn how you knew what 
you do ?" said the girl, after a short pause. 

" Never," replied the gentleman. " The intelli 
gence should be so brought to bear upon him that 
he could never even guess." 

" I have been a liar, and among liars from a little 
child," said the girl, after another interval of silence, 
" but I will take your words." 

After receiving an assurance from both that she 
might safely do so, she proceeded, in a voice so low 
that it was often difficult for the listener to discover 
even the purport of what she said, to describe, by 
name and situation, the public -house whence she 
had been followed that night. From the manner in 
which she occasionally paused, it appeared as if the 
gentleman were making some hasty notes of the in 
formation she communicated. When she had thor 
oughly explained the localities of the place, the best 
position from which to watch it without exciting ob 
servation, and the night and hour on which Monks 
was most in the habit of frequenting it, she seemed 
to consider for a few moments, for the purpose of re 
calling his features and appearance more forcibly t<> 
her recollection. 

" He is tall," said the girl, " and a strongly made 
man, but not stout ; he has a lurking \valk ; and. as 
he walks, constantly looks over his shoulder, first on 
one side, and then on the other. Don't forget that, 
for his eyes are sunk in his head so much deeper 
than any other man's that you might almost tell 
him by that alone. His face is dark, like his hair 
and eyes; and, although he can't be more than six 
or eight and twenty, withered and haggard. His 
lips are often discolored and disfigured with the 
marks of teeth ; for lie has desperate fits, and some 
times even bites his hands and covers them with 
wounds why did you start?" said the girl, stopping 
suddenly. 

The gentleman replied, in a hurried manner, that 
he was not conscious of having done so, and begged 
her to proceed. 

" Part of this," said the girl, " I've drawn out from 
other people at the house I tell you of, for I have only 
seen him twice, and both times he was covered up in 
a large cloak. I think that's all I can give you to 
know him by. Stay, though." she added. " Upon 
his throat, so high that you can see a part of it be- 



THE SPY MAKES OFF WITH NEJTS. 



147 



low his neckerchief when he turns his face, there 
is" 

"A broad red mark, like a burn or scald," cried the 
gentleman. 

" How's this ?" said the girl. " Yon know him !" 

The young lady uttered a cry of surprise, and for a 
few moments they were so still that the listener could 
distinctly hear them breathe. 

" I think I do," said the gentleman, breaking si 
lence. " I should by your description. We shall 
see. Many people are singularly like each other. 
It may not be the same." 

As he expressed himself to this effect with assumed 
carelessness, he took a step or two nearer the con 
cealed spy, as the latter could tell from the distinct 
ness with which he heard him mutter, " It must be 
he!" 

" Now," he said, returning, so it seemed by the 
sound, to the spot where he had stood before, " you 
have given us most valuable assistance, young wom 
an, and I wish you to be the better for it. What 
can I do to serve you ?" 

" Nothing," replied Nancy. 

" You will not persist in saying that," rejoined the 
gentleman, with a voice and emphasis of kindness 
that might have touched a much harder and more 
obdurate heart. " Think now. Tell me." 

" Nothing, sir," rejoined the girl, weeping. " You 
can do nothing to help me. I am past all hope, in 
deed." 

" You put yourself beyond its pale," said the gen 
tleman. "The past has been a dreary waste with 
you, of youthful energies misspent, and such price 
less treasures lavished, as the Creator bestows but 
once and never grants again, but, for the future, you 
may hope. I do not say that it is in our power to 
otter you peace of heart and mind, for that must 
come as you seek it ; but a quiet asylum, either in 
England, or, if you fear to remain here, in some for 
eign country, it is not only within the compass of 
our ability but our most anxious wish to secure you. 
Before the dawn of morning, before this river wakes 
to the first glimpse of daylight, you shall be placed 
as entirely beyond the reach of your former asso 
ciates, and leave as utter an absence of all trace be 
hind you, as if you were to disappear from the earth 
this moment. Come ! I would not have you go back 
to exchange one word with any old companion, or 
take one look at any old haunt, or breathe the very 
air which is pestilence and death to you. Quit them 
all, while there is time and opportunity !" 

" She will be persuaded now," cried the young lady. 
" She hesitates, I am sure." 

" I fear not, my dear," said the gentleman. 

" No, sir, I do not," replied the girl, after a short 
struggle. " I am chained to my old life. I loathe 
and hate it now, but I can not leave it. I must 
have gone too far to turn back and yet I don't 
know ; for if you had spoken to me so some time 
ago, I should have laughed it off. But," she said, 
looking hastily round, "this fear comes over me 
again. I must go home." 

"Home!" repeated the young lady, with great 
stress upon the word. 

" Home, lady," rejoined the girl. " To such a 
home as I have raised for mvself with the work of 



my whole life. Let us part. I shall be watched or 
seen. Go ! Go ! If I have done you any service, all 
I ask is, that you leave me, and let me go my way 
alone." 

" It is useless," said the gentleman, with a sigh. 
" We compromise her safety, perhaps, by staving 
here. We may have detained her longer than she 
expected already." 

" Yes, yes," urged the girl. " You have." 

" What," cried the young lady, " can be the end 
of this poor creature's life !" 

"What!" repeated the girl. "Look before you, 
lady. Look at that dark water. How many times 
do you read of such as I who spring into the tide, 
and leave no living thing to care for or bewail them. 
It may be years hence, or it may be only months, but 
I shall come to that at last." 

"Do not speak thus, pray," returned the young 
lady, sobbing. 

" It will never reach your ears, dear lady, and 
God forbid such horrors should!" replied the girl. 
" Good-night, good-night !" 

The gentleman turned away. 

"This purse," cried the young lady. "Take it 
for my sake, that you may have some resource in an 
hour of need and trouble !" 

" No !" replied the girl. " I have not done this for 
money. Let me have that to think of. And yet 
give me something that you have worn: I should 
like to have soniethiug no, no, not a ring your 
gloves or handkerchief any thing that I can keep, 
as having belonged to you, sweet lady. There. 
Bless you! God bless you! Good -night, good 
night !" 

The violent agitation of the girl, and the appre 
hension of some discovery which would subject her 
to ill-usage and violence, seemed to determine the 
gentleman to leave her as she requested. The 
sounds of retreating footsteps were audible, and the 
voices ceased. 

The two figures of the young lady and her com 
panion soon afterward appeared upon the bridge. 
They stopped at the summit of the stairs. 

"Hark!" cried the young lady, listeuing. "Did 
she call ? I thought I heard her voice." 

"No, my love," replied Mr. Brownlow, looking sad 
ly back. " She has not moved, and will not till we 
are gone." 

Rose Maylie lingered, but the old gentleman drew 
her arm through his, and led her, with gentle force, 
away. As they disappeared, the girl sunk down 
nearly at her full length upon one of the stone 
stairs, and vented the anguish of her heart in bitter 
tears. 

After a time she arose, and with feeble and totter 
ing steps ascended to the street. The astonished 
listener remained motionless on his post for some 
minutes afterward, and having ascertained, with 
many cautions glances round him, that he was again 
alone, crept slowly from his hiding-place, and return 
ed stealthily and in the shade of the wall, in the 
same manner as he had descended. 

Peeping out more than once, when he reached the 
top, to make sure that he was unobserved, Noah Clay- 
pole darted away at his utmost speed, and made for 
the Jew's house as fast as his legs would carry him. 



148 



OLIVER TWIST. 



CHAPTER XLVII. 

.FATAL CONSEQUENCES. 

IT was nearly two hours before day-break that 
time which in the autumn of the year may be 
truly called the dead of night, when the streets are 
silent and deserted, when even sounds appear to 
slumber, and profligacy and riot have staggered 
home to dream ; it was at this still and silent hour 
that Fagin sat watching in his old lair, with face so 
distorted and pale, and eyes so red and bloodshot, 
that he looked leas like a man than like some hid 
eous phantom moist from the grave, and worried by 
an evil spirit. 

He sat crouching over a cold hearth, wrapped in 
an old torn coverlet, with his face turned toward a 
wasting candle that stood upon a table by his side. 
His right hand was raised to his lips, and as, absorb 
ed in thought, he bit his long black nails, he dis 
closed among his toothless gums a few such fangs as 
should have been a dog's or rat's. 

Stretched upon a mattress on the floor lay Noah 
Claypole, fast asleep. Toward him the old man 
sometimes directed his eyes for an instant, and then 
brought them back again to the candle, which with 
a long-burnt wick drooping almost double, and hot 
grease falling down in clots upon the table, plainly 
showed that his thoughts were busy elsewhere. 

Indeed they were. Mortification at the overthrow 
of his notable scheme ; hatred of the girl who had 
dared to palter with strangers ; an utter distrust of 
the sincerity of her refusal to yield him up ; bitter 
disappointment at the loss of his revenge on Sikes ; 
the fear of detection, and ruin, and death; and a 
fierce and deadly rage kindled by all ; these were 
the passionate considerations which, following close 
upon each other with rapid and ceaseless whirl, shot 
through the brain of Fagiu, as every evil thought 
and blackest purpose lay working at his heart. 

He sat without changing his attitude in the least, 
or appearing to take the smallest heed of time, until 
his quick ear seemed to be attracted by a footstep in 
the street. 

"At last," he muttered, wiping his dry and fever 
ed mouth. "At last!" 

The bell rang gently as he spoke. He crept up 
stairs to the door, and presently returned accompa 
nied by a man muffled to the chin, who carried a 
bundle under one arm. Sitting down and throwing 
back his outer coat, the man displayed the burly 
frame of Sikes. 

" There !" he said, laying the bundle on the table. 
" Take care of that, and do the most you can with it. 
It's been trouble enough to get ; I thought I should 
have been here three hours ago." 

Fagin laid his hand upon the bundle, and locking 
it in the cupboard, sat down again without speaking. 
But he did not take his eyes off the robber for an in- 
stnnt during this action ; and now that they sat over 
against each other, fact- to face, he looked fixedly at 
him, with his lips quivering so violently, and his face 
so altered by the emotions which had mastered him, 
that the house-breaker involuntarily drew back his 
chair, and surveyed him with a look of real affright. 

" Wot now ?" cried Sikes. " Wot do you look at 
a man so for?" 



Fagin raised his right hand and shook his trem 
bling forefinger in the air ; but his passion was so 
great that the power of speech was for the moment 
gone. 

" Damme !" said Sikes, feeling in his breast with a 
look of alarm. " He's gone mad. I must look to 
myself here." 

" No, no," rejoined Fagin, finding his voice. " It's 
not you're not the person, Bill. I've no no fault 
to find with you." 

" Oh, you haven't, haven't you ?" said Sikes, look 
ing sternly at him, and ostentatiously passing a pis 
tol into a more convenient pocket. " That's lucky 
for one of us. Which one that is, don't matter." 

" I've got that to tell you, Bill," said Fagiu, draw 
ing his chair nearer, "will make you worse than me." 

"Ay?" returned the robber, with an incredulous 
air. " Tell away ! Look sharp, or Nance will think 
I'm lost," 

" Lost !" cried Fagin. " She has pretty well set 
tled that in her own mind already." 

Sikes looked with an aspect of great perplexity 
into the Jew's face, and reading no satisfactory ex 
planation of the riddle there, clenched his coat-col 
lar in his huge hand and shook him soundly. 

" Speak, will you !" he said ; " or, if you don't, it 
shall be for want of breath. Open your mouth and 
say wot you've got to say in plain words. Out with 
it, you thundering old cur out with it !" 

" Suppose that lad that's lying there " Fagiu be 
gan. 

Sikes turned round to where Noah was sleeping, 
as if he had not previously observed him. " Well !" 
he said, resuming his former position. 

" Suppose that lad," pursued Fagin, " was to peach 
to blow upon us all first seeking out the right 
folks for the purpose, and then having a meeting 
with 'em in the street to paint our likenesses, de 
scribe every mark that they might know us by, and 
the crib where we might be most easily taken. Sup 
pose he was to do all this, and besides, to blow upon 
a plant we've all been in more or less of his own 
fancy; not grabbed, trapped, tried, ear wished by 
the parson and brought to it on bread-and-water 
but of his own fancy ; to please his own taste ; steal 
ing out at nights to find those most interested against 
us, and peaching to them. Do you hear me ?" cried 
the Jew, his eyes flashing with rage. " Suppose he- 
did all this, what then?" 

" What then !" replied Sikes, with a tremendous 
oath. " If he was left alive till I came, I'd grind his 
skull under the iron heel of my boot into as many 
grains as there are hairs upon his head." 

" What if I did it !" cried Fagiu, almost in a yell. 
"7, that know so much, and could hang so many be 
sides myself!" 

" I don't know," replied Sikes, clenching his teeth 
and turning white at the mere suggestion. " I'd do 
something in the jail that 'ml get me put in irons ; 
and if I was tried along with you, I'd fall upon you 
with them in the open court, and beat your brains 
out afore the people. I should have such strength," 
muttered the robber, poising his brawny arm, " that 
I could smash your head as if a loaded wagon had 
gone over it." 

" You would ?" 



GOADING THE WILD BEAST. 



149 



" Would I !" said the house-breaker. " Try me." 

" If it was Charley, or the Dodger, or Bet, or : 

" I don't care who," replied Sikes, impatiently. 
" Whoever it was, I'd serve them the same." 

Fagin looked hard at the robber ; and, motioning 
him to be silent, stooped over the bed upon the floor 
and shook the sleeper to rouse him. Sikes leaned 
forward in his chair, looking on with his hands upon 
his knees, as if wondering much what all this ques 
tioning and preparation was to end in. 

" Bolter, Bolter ! Poor lad !" said Fagin, looking 
up with an expression of devilish anticipation, and 
speaking slowly and with marked emphasis. " He's 
tired tired with watching for her so long watch 
ing for her, Bill." 

" Wot d'ye mean ?" asked Sikes, drawing back. 

Fagin made no answer, but bending over the sleep 
er again, hauled him into a sitting posture. When 
his assumed name had been repeated several times, 
Noah rubbed his eyes, and, giving a heavy yawn, 
looked sleepily about him. 

"Tell me that again once again, just for him to 
hear," said the Jew, pointing to Sikes as he spoke. 

" Tell yer what ?" asked the sleepy Noah, shaking 
himself pettishly. 

" That about NANCY," said Fagin, clutching Sikes 
by the wrist, as if to prevent his leaving the house 
before he had heard enough. " You followed her t" 

" Yes." 

" To London Bridge ?" 

" Yes." 

" Where she met two people ?" 

" So she did." 

"A gentleman and lady that she had gone to of 
her own accord before, who asked her to give up all 
her pals, and Monks first, which she did and to de 
scribe him, which she did and to tell her what house 
it was that we meet at, and go to, which she did 
and where it could be best watched from, which she 
did and what time the people went there, which she 
did. She did all this. She told it all, every word, 
without a threat, without a murmur she did did 
she not ?" cried Fagin, half mad with fury. 

"All right," replied Noah, scratching his head. 
" That's just what it was !" 

" What did they say about last Sunday ?" 

" About last Sunday ?" replied Noah, considering. 
" Why I told yer that before." 

"Again. 'Tell it again!" cried Fagin, tightening 
his grasp on Sikes, and brandishing his other hand 
aloft, as the foam flew from his lips. 

" They asked her," said Noah, who, as he grew 
more wakeful, seemed to have a dawning perception 
who Sikes was, " they asked her why she didn't come 
last Sunday, as she promised. She said she couldn't." 

" Why why ? Tell him that." 

" Because she was forcibly kept at home by Bill, 
the man she had told them of before," replied Noah. 

" What more of him ?" cried Fagiu. " What more 
of the man she had told them of before ? Tell him 
that, tell him that." 

" Why, that she couldn't very easily get out-of- 
doors unless he knew where she was going to," said 
Noah ; " and so the first time she went to see the lady, 
she ha ! ha ! ha ! it made me laugh when she said 
it, that it did she gave him a diluk of laudauum !" 



" Hell's fire !" cried Sikes, breaking fiercely from 
the Jew. " Let me go !" 

Flinging the old man from him, he rushed from the 
room, and darted, wildly and furiously, up the stairs. 

" Bill, Bill !" cried Fagiu, following him hastily. 
"A word. Only a word." 

The word would not have been exchanged, but 
that the house-breaker was unable to open the door, 
on which he was expending fruitless oaths and vio 
lence, when the Jew came panting up. 

" Let me out !" said Sikes. " Don't speak to me ; 
it's not safe. Let me out, I say !" 

" Hear me speak a word," rejoined Fagin, laying 
his hand upon the lock. " You won't be " 

" Well," replied the other. 

" You won't be too violent, Bill ?" 

The day was breaking, and there was light enough 
for the men to see each other's faces. They ex 
changed one brief glance ; there was a fire in the eyes 
of both which could not be mistaken. 

" I mean," said Fagiu, showing that he felt all dis 
guise was now useless, " not too violent for safety. 
Be crafty, Bill, and not too bold." 

Sikes made no reply ; but, pulling open the door 
of which Fagin had turned the lock, dashed into the 
silent streets. 

Without one pause, or moment's consideration ; 
without once turning his head to the right or left, or 
raising his eyes to the sky, or lowering them to the 
ground, but looking straight before him with savage 
resolution, his teeth so tightly compressed that the 
strained jaw seemed starting through his skin, the 
robber held on his headlong course, nor muttered a 
word, nor relaxed a muscle, until he reached his own 
door. He opened it softly with a key, strode lightly 
up the stairs, and, entering his own room, double- 
locked the door, and lifting a heavy table against it, 
drew back the curtain of the bed. 

The girl was lying, half-dressed, upon it. He had 
roused her from her sleep, for she raised herself with 
a hurried and startled look. 

" Get up !" said the man. 

" It is you, Bill !" said the girl, with an expression 
of pleasure at his return. 

" It is," was the reply. " Get up !" 

There was a candle burning, but the man hastily 
drew it from the candlestick and hurled it under the 
grate. Seeing the faint light of early day without, 
the girl rose to undraw the curtain. 

" Let it be," said Sikes, thrusting his hand before 
her. " There's light enough for wot I've got to do." 

" Bill," said the girl, in the low voice of alarm, 
" why do you look like that at me ?" 

The robber sat regarding her for a few seconds 
with dilated nostrils and heaving breast; and then, 
grasping her by the head and throat, dragged her 
into the middle of the room, and looking once toward 
the door, placed his heavy hand upon her mouth. 

"Bill! Bill!" gasped the girl, wrestling with the 
strength of mortal fear " I I won't scream or cry 
not once hear me speak to me tell rue what I 
have done." 

" You know, you she-devil !" returned the robber, 
suppressing his breath. "You were watched to 
night ; every word you said was heard." 

" Then spare my life for the love of Heaven, as I 



150 



OLIVER TWIST. 



spared yours," rejoined the girl, clinging to him. 
" Bill, dear Bill, you can not have the heart to kill 
me ! Oh ! think of all I have given up, only this one 
night, for you. You shall have time to think, and 
save yourself this crime ; I will not loose my hold, 
you can not throw me off. Bill, Bill, for dear God's 
sake, for your own, for mine, stop before you spill my 
blood ! I have been true to you, upon my guilty 
soul I have !" 

The man struggled violently to release his arms ; 
but those of the girl were clasped round his, and, tear 
her as lie would, he could not tear them away. 

" Bill," cried the girl, striving to lay her head upon 
his breast, " the gentleman and that dear lady told 
me to-night of a home in some foreign country where 
I could end my days in solitude and peace. Let me 
see them again, and beg them on my knees to show 
the same mercy and goodness to you ; and let us both 
leave this dreadful place, and, far apart, lead better 
lives, and forget how we have lived, except in prayers, 
and never see each other more. It is never too late 
to repent. They told me so I feel it now ; but we 
must have time a little, little time !" 

The house-breaker freed one arm, and grasped his 
pistol. The certainty of immediate detection if he 
tired, flashed across his mind even in the midst of 
his fury, and he beat it twice, with all the force he 
could summon, upon the upturned face that almost 
touched his own. 

She staggered and fell, nearly blinded with the 
blood that rained down from a deep gash in her 
forehead; but raising herself with difficulty on her 
knees, drew from her bosom a white handkerchief 
Rose Maylie's own and holding it up, in her folded 
hands, as high toward heaven as her feeble strength 
would allow, breathed one prayer for mercy to her 
Maker. 

It was a ghastly figure to look upon. The mur 
derer staggering backward to the wall, and shutting 
out the sight with his hand, seized a heavy club and 
struck her down. 



CHAPTER XL VIII. 

THE FLIGHT OF SIKES. 

OF all bad deed.s that, under cover of the dark 
ness, had been committed within wide London's 
bounds since night hung over it, that was the worst. 
Of all the horrors that rose with an ill scent upon the 
morning air, that was the foulest and most cruel. 

The sun the bright sun, that brings back, not 
light alone, but new life, and hope, and freshness to 
man burst upon the crowded city in clear and ra 
diant glory. Through costly-colored glass and pa 
per - mended window, through cathedral dome and 
rotten crevice, it shed its equal ray. It lighted up 
the room where the murdered woman lay. It did. 
He tried to shut it out, but it would stream in. If 
the sight had been a ghastly one in the dull morn- 
iiig, what was it now, in all that brilliant light ! 

He had not moved ; he had been afraid to stir. 
There had been a moan and motion of the hand, and, 
with terror added to rage, he had struck and struck 
again. O:ice he threw a rug over it ; but it was 
worse to fancy the eyes, and imagine them moving 



towai'd him, than to see them glaring upward, as 
if watching the reflection of the pool of gore that 
quivered and danced in the sunlight on the ceiling. 
He had plucked it off again. And there was the 
body mere flesh and blood, no more but such 
flesh, and so much blood ! 

He struck a light, kindled the fire, and thrust the 
club into it. There was hair upon the end, which 
blazed and shrunk into a light cinder, and, caught by 
the air, whirled up the chimney. Even that fright 
ened him, sturdy as he was ; but he held the weapon 
till it broke, and then piled it on the coals to burn 
away, and smoulder into ashes. He washed himself, 
and rubbed his clothes; there were spots that would 
not be removed, but he cut the pieces out, and burned 
them. How those stains were dispersed about the 
room ! The very feet of the dog were bloody. 

All this time he had never once turned his back 
upon the corpse ; no, not for a moment. Such prepa 
rations completed, he moved backward toward the 
door, dragging the dog with him, lest he should soil 
his feet anew and carry out new evidences of the 
crime into the streets. He shut the door softly, 
locked it, took the key, and left the house. 

He crossed over, and glanced up at the window, 
to be sure that nothing was visible from the outside. 
There was the curtain still drawn, which she would 
have opened to admit the light she never saw again. 
It lay nearly under there. He knew that. God. how 
the sun poured down upon the very spot ! 

The glance was instantaneous. It was a relief to 
have got free of the room. He whistled on the dog, 
and walked rapidly away. 

lie went through Islington ; strode up the hill at 
Highgate on which stands the stone in honor of 
Whittingtoii ; turned down to Highgate Hill, un 
steady of purpose, .and uncertain where to go ; struck 
off to the right again almost as soon as he began to 
descend it ; and taking the foot-path across the fields, 
skirted Caen Wood, and so came out on Hampstead 
Heath. Traversing the hollow by the Vale of Health, 
he mounted the opposite bank, and, crossing the road 
which joins the villages of Hampstead and Highgate, 
made along the remaining portion of the Heath to the 
fields at North End, in one of which he laid himself 
down under a hedge and slepr. 

Soon he was up again and away not far into the 
country, but back toward London by the high-road 
then back again then over another part of the same 
ground as he already traversed then wandering up 
and down in fields, and lying on ditches' brinks to 
rest, and starting up to make for some other spot and 
do the same, and ramble on again. 

Where could he go that was near and not too pub 
lic, to get some meat and drink ? Hendon. That 
was a good place, not far oft", and out of most peo 
ple's way. Thither he directed his steps running 
sometimes, and sometimes, with a strange perversi 
ty, loitering at a snail's pace, or stopping altogether 
and idly breaking the hedges with his stick. But 
when he got there, all the people he met the very 
children at the doors seemed to view him with sus 
picion. Back he turned again, without the courage 
to purchase bit or drop, though he had tasted no food 
for many hours ; and once more he lingered on the 
Heath, uncertain where to go. 



THE PEDDLER OF ALL WARES. 



151 



He wandered over miles .and miles of ground, and 
still came back to the old place. Morning and noon 
had passed, and the day was on the wane, and still 
he rambled to and fro, and up and down, and round 
and round, and still lingered about the same spot. 
At last he got away, and shaped his course for Hat- 
tield. 

It was nine o'clock at night, when the man, quite 
tired out, and the dog, limping and lame from the 
unaccustomed exercise, turned down the hill by the 
church of the quiet village, and plodding along the 
little street, crept into a small public-house, whose 
scanty light had guided them to the spot. There 
was a fire in the tap-room, and some country -labor- 



There was nothing to attract attention or excite 
alarm in this. The robber, after paying his reckon 
ing, sat silent and unnoticed in his corner, and had 
almost dropped asleep, when he was half wakened 
by the noisy entrance of a new-comer. 

This was an antic fellow, half peddler and half 
mountebank, who traveled about the country on 
foot to vend hones, strops, razors, wash-balls, har 
ness-paste, medicine for dogs and horses, cheap per 
fumery, cosmetics, and such -like wares, which he 
carried in a case slung to his back. His entrance 
was the signal for various homely jokes with the 
countrymen, which slackened not until he had made 
his supper, and opened his box of treasures, when lie 




" HE MOVED UACKWAKI 



ers were drinking before it. They made room for 
the stranger, but he sat down in the farthest corner, 
and ate and drank alone, or rather with his dog, to 
whom he cast a morsel of food from time to time. 

The conversation of the men assembled here turn 
ed upon the neighboring laud and fanners ; and when 
those topics were exhausted, upon the age of some 
old man who had been buried on the previous Sun 
day ; the young men present considering him very 
old, and the old men present declaring him to have 
been quite young not older, one white-haired grand 
father said, than he was with ten or fifteen year of 
life in him at least if he had taken care ; if he had 
taken care. 



WITH HIM. 



ingeniously contrived to unite business with amuse 
ment. 

" And what be that stoof ? Good to eat, Harry ?" 
asked a grinning countryman, pointing to some com 
position-cakes in one corner. 

" This," said the fellow, producing one, " this is the 
infallible and invaluable composition for removing 
all sorts of stain, rust, dirt, mildew, spick, speck, spot, 
or spatter, from silk, satin, linen, cambric, cloth, crape, 
stuff, carpet, merino, muslin, bombazine, or woolen 
stuff. Wine-stains, fruit-stains, beer-stains, water- 
stains, paint-stains, pitch-stains, any stains, all come 
out at one rub with the infallible and invaluable 
composition. If a lady stains her honor, she,has only 



152 



OLIVER TWIST. 



need to swallow one cake, and she's cured at once 
for it's poison. Jf a gentleman wants to prove this, 
he has only need to bolt one little square, and he has 
put ic beyond question for it's quite as satisfacto 
ry as a pistol-bullet, and a great deal nastier in the 
flavor, consequently the more credit in taking it. 
One penny a square. With all these virtues, one 
penny a square !" 

There were two buyers directly, and more of the 
listeners plainly hesitated. The vender observing 
this, increased in loquacity. 

"It's all bought up as fast as it can be made," 
said the fellow. " There are fourteen water-mills, 
six steam-engines, and a galvanic battery, always 
a-working upon it, and they can't make it fast enough, 
though the men work so hard that they die off, and 
the widows is pensioned directly, with twenty pound 
a year for each of the children, and a premium of 
fifty for twins. One penny a square! Two half 
pence is all the same, and four farthings is received 
with joy. One penny a square ! Wine-stains, fruit- 
stains, beer-stains, water-stains, paint-stains, pitch- 
stains, mud -stains, blood -stains! Here is a stain 
upon the hat of a gentleman id company that I'll 
take clean out before he can order me a pint of ale." 

" Hah !" cried Sikes, starting up. " Give that 
back !" 

" I'll take it clean out, sir," replied the man, wink 
ing to the company, " before you can come across 
the room to get it. Gentlemen all, observe the dark 
stain upon this gentleman's hat, no wider than a shil 
ling, but thicker than a half-crown. Whether it is 
a wine -stain, fruit -stain, beer -stain, water -stain, 
paint-stain, pitch-stain, mud-stain, or blood-stain" 

The man got no farther, for Sikes, with a hideous 
imprecation, overthrew the table, and, tearing the hat 
from him, burst out of the house. 

With the same perversity of feeling and irresolu 
tion that had fastened upon him, despite himself, all 
day, the murderer, finding that he was not followed, 
and that they most probably considered him some 
drunken, sullen fellow, turned back up the town, 
and getting out of the glare of the lamps of a stage 
coach that was standing in the street, was walking 
past, when he recognized the mail from London, and 
saw that it was standing at the little post-office. 
He almost knew what was to come ; but he crossed 
over, and listened. 

The guard was standing at the door, waiting for 
the letter-bag. A man, dressed like a gamekeeper, 
came up at the moment, and he handed him a basket 
which lay ready on the pavement. 

" That's for your people," said the guard. " Now, 
look alive in there, will you ! D that 'ere bag, it 
warn't ready night afore last ; this won't do, you 
know!" 

"Any thing new up in town, Ben ?" asked the 
gamekeeper, drawing back to the window-shutters, 
the better to admire the horses. 

" No, nothing that I knows on," replied the man, 
pulling on his gloves. " Corn's up a little. I heerd 
talk of a murder, too, down Spitalfields way, but I 
don't reckon much upon it." 

" Oh, that's quite true," said a gentleman inside, 
who was looking out of the window. "And a dread 
ful murder it was." 



"Was it, sir?" rejoined the guard, touching his 
hat. " Man or woman, pray, sir ?" 

"A woman," replied the gentleman. "It is sup 
posed 

" Now, Ben !" cried the coachman, impatiently. 

" D that 'ere bag," said the guard ; " are you 
gone to sleep in there ?" 

" Coming !" cried the officer-keeper, running out. 

" Coming !" growled the guard. "Ah, and so's the 
young ooman of property that's going to take a fan 
cy to me, but I don't know when. Here, give hold. 
Allri ight!" 

The horn sounded a few cheerful notes, and the 
coach was gone. 

Sikes remained standing in the street, apparently 
unmoved by what he had just heard, and agitated 
by no stronger feeling than a doubt where to go. At 
length he went back again, and took the road which 
leads from Hatfield to St. Albaus. 

He went on doggedly ; but as he left the town be 
hind him, and plunged into the solitude and dark 
ness of the road, he felt a dread and awe creeping 
upon hiifl which shook him to the core. Every ob 
ject before him, substance or shadow, still or moving, 
took the semblance of some fearful thing ; but these 
fears were nothing compared to the sense that haunt 
ed him of that morning's ghastly figure following at 
his heels. He could trace its shadow in the gloom, 
supply the smallest item of the outline, and note how 
stiff and solemn it seemed to stalk alone. He could 
hear its garments rustling in the leaves, and every 
breath of wind came laden with that last low cry. 
If he stopped, it did the same. If he ran, it followed 
not running too ; that would have been a relief : 
but like a corpse endowed with the mere machinery 
of life, and borne on one slow, melancholy wind 
that never rose or fell. 

At times he turned, with desperate determination, 
resolved to beat this phantom off, though it should 
look him dead ; but the hair rose on his head, and 
his blood stood still, for it had turned with him, and 
was behind him then. He ha<l kept it before him 
that morning, but it was behind now always. He 
leaned his back against a bank, and felt that it stood 
above him, visibly out against the cold night-sky. 
He threw himself upon the road on his back upon 
the road. At his head it stood, silent, erect, and still 
a living grave-stone, with its epitaph in blood. 

Let no man talk of murderers escaping justice, and 
hint that Providence must sleep. There were twen 
ty score of violent deaths in one long minute of that 
agony of fear. 

There was a shed in a field he passed that offered 
shelter for the night. Before the door were three 
tall poplar trees, which made it very dark within ; 
and the wind moaned through them with a dismal 
wail. He could not walk on till daylight came again : 
and here he stretched himself close to the wall to 
undergo new torture. 

For now a vision came before him, as constant 
and more terrible than that from which he had es 
caped. Those widely-staring eyes, so lustreless and 
so glassy, that he had better borne to see them than 
think upon them, appeared in the midst of the dark 
ness, bight in themselves, but giving light to nothing. 
There were but two, but they were everywhere. If 



THE CUESE OF CAIN. 



he shut out the sight, there came the room with ev 
ery well-known object some, indeed, that he Avould 
have forgotten if lie had gone over its contents from 
memory each in its accustomed place. The body 
was in its place, and its eyes were as he saw them 
when he stole away. He got up aud rushed into the 
field without. The figure was behind him. He re- 
entered the shed, aud shrunk down once more. The 
eyes were there, before he had lain himself along. 

And here he remained in such terror as none but 
he can know, trembling in every limb, and the cold 
sweat starting from every pore, when suddenly there 
arose upon the night- wind the noise of distant shout 
ing and the roar of voices mingled in alarm and won 
der. Any sound of men in that lonely place, even 
though it conveyed a real cause of alarm, was some 
thing to him. He regained his strength and energy 
at the prospect of personal danger ; and springing to 
his feet, rushed into the open air. 

The broad sky seemed on fire. Rising into the air 
with showers of sparks, and rolling one above the 
other, were sheets of flame, lighting the atmosphere 
for miles round, and driving clouds of smoke in the 
direction where he stood. The shouts grew louder 
as new voices swelled the roar, and he could hear 
the cry of fire, mingled with the ringing of an alarm- 
bell, the fall of heavy bodies, and the crackling of 
flames as they twined round some new obstacle, and 
shot aloft as though refreshed by food. The noise 
increased as he looked. There were people there 
men and women light, bustle. It was like new 
life to him. He darted onward straight, headlong 
dashing through brier aud brake, and leaping gate 
and fence as madly as his dog, who careered with 
loud and sounding bark before him. 

He came upon the spot. There were half-dressed 
figures tearing to and fro, some endeavoring to drag 
the frightened horses from the stables, others driv 
ing the cattle from the yard and out-houses, and oth 
ers coming laden from the burning pile, amidst a 
shower of falling sparks and the tumbling down of 
red-hot beams. The apertures, where doors and win 
dows stood an hour ago, disclosed a mass of raging 
fire ; walls rocked and crumbled into the burning 
well ; the molten lead and iron poured down, white- 
hot, upon the ground. Women and children shrieked, 
and men encouraged each other with noisy shouts 
and cheers. The clanking of the engine-pumps, and 
the spirting and hissing of the water as it fell upon 
the blazing wood, added to the tremendous roar. 
He shouted, too, till he was hoarse ; and flying from 
memory and himself, plunged into the thickest of 
the throng. 

Hither and thither he dived that night now 
working at the pumps, and now hurrying through 
the smoke and flame, but never ceasing to engage 
himself wherever noise and men were thickest. Up 
and down the ladders, upon the roofs of buildings, 
over floors that quaked and trembled with his weight, 
under the lee of falling bricks and stones, in every 
part of that great fire, was he ; but he bore a charmed 
life, and had neither scratch nor bruise, nor weari 
ness nor thought, till morning dawned again, and 
only smoke and blackened ruins remained. 



This mad excitement over, there returned, with 
tenfold force, the dreadful consciousness of his crime. 
He looked suspiciously about him, for the men were 
conversing in groups, and he feared to be the subject 
of their talk. The dog obeyed the significant beck 
of his finger, and they drew off, stealthily, together. 
He passed near an engine where some men were 
seated, and they called to him to share in their re 
freshment. He took some bread and meat ; and, as 
he drank a draught of beer, heard the firemen, who 
were from London, talking about the murder. " He 
has gone to Birmingham, they say," said one ; " but 
they'll have him yet, for the scouts are out, and by 
to-morrow night .there'll be a cry all through the 
country." 

He hurried off, and walked till he almost dropped 
upon the ground ; then lay down in a lane, and had 
a long, but broken and uneasy sleep. He wandered 
on again, irresolute and undecided, and oppressed 
with the fear of another solitary night. 

Suddenly, he took the desperate resolution of go 
ing back to London. 

" There's somebody to speak to there, at all events," 
he thought. "A good hiding-place, too. They'll 
never expect to nab me there, after this country 
scent. Why can't I lie by for a week or so, and, 
forcing blunt from Fagin, get abroad to France ? 
Damme, I'll risk it." 

He acted upon this impulse without delay, and 
choosing the least frequented roads, began his jour 
ney back, resolved to lie concealed within a short 
distance of the metropolis, and, entering it at dusk 
by a circuitous route, to proceed straight to that 
part of it which he had fixed on for his destina 
tion. 

The dog, though. If any descriptions of him were 
out, it would not be forgotten that the dog was miss 
ing, and had probably gone with him. This might 
lead to his apprehension as he passed along the 
streets. He resolved to drown him, and walked on, 
looking about for a pond, picking up a heavy stone 
and tying it to his handkerchief as he went. 

The animal looked up into his master's face while 
these preparations were making: whether his in 
stinct apprehended something of their purpose, or 
the robber's sidelong look at him was sterner than 
ordinary, he skulked a little farther in the rear than 
usual, and cowered as he came more slowly along. 
When his master halted at the brink of a pool, and 
looked round to call him, he stopped outright. 

" Do you hear me call ? Come here !" cried Sikes. 

The animal came up from the very force of hab 
it ; but as Sikes stooped to attach the handkerchief 
to his throat, he uttered a low growl and started 
back. 

" Come back !" said the robber. 

The dog wagged his tail, but moved not. Sikes 
made a running noose and called him again. 

The dog advanced, retreated, paused an instant, 
turned, aud scoured away at his hardest speed. 

The man whistled again and again, and sat down 
and waited in the expectation that he would return. 
But no dog appeared, and at length he resumed his 
journey. 



154 



OLIVER TWIST. 



CHAPTER XLIX. 

MONKS AND MR. BROWNLOW AT LENGTH MEET. THEIR 
CONVERSATION, AND THE INTELLIGENCE THAT INTER 
RUPTS IT. 

THE twilight was beginning to close in, when Mr. 
Browulow alighted from a hackney-coach at his 
own door, and knocked softly. The door being open 
ed, a sturdy man got out of the coach and stationed 
himself on one side of the steps, while another man, 
who had been seated on the box, dismounted too, 
and stood upon the other side. At a sign from Mr. 
Brownlow they helped out a third man, and taking 
him between them, hurried him into the house. This 
man was Monks. 

They walked in the same manner up the stairs, 
without speaking; and Mr. Browulow, preceding 
them, led the way into a back-room. At the door of 
this apartment Monks, who had ascended w y ith ev 
ident reluctance, stopped. The two men looked to 
the old gentleman as if for instructions. 

" He knows the alternative," said Mr. Brownlow. 
" If he hesitates or moves a finger but as you bid 
him, drag him into the street, call for the aid of the 
police, and impeach him as a felon in my name." 

" How dare you say this of me ?" asked Monks. 

" How dare you urge me to it, young man ?" re 
plied Mr. Brownlow, confronting him with a steady 
look. "Are you mad enough to leave this house? 
Unhand him. There, sir. You are free to go, and 
we to follow. But I warn you, by all I hold most 
solemn and most sacred, that the instant you set 
foot in the street, that instant will I have you appre 
hended on a charge of fraud and robbery. I am res 
olute and immovable. If you are determined to be 
the same, your blood be upon your own head !" 

" By what authority am I kidnapped in the street, 
and brought here by these dogs ?" asked Monks, look 
ing from one to the other of the men who stood be 
side him. 

" By mine," replied Mr. Brownlow. " Those per 
sons are indemnified by me. If you complain of be 
ing deprived of your liberty you had power and 
opportunity to retrieve it as you came along, but 
you deemed it advisable to remain quiet I say 
again, throw yourself for protection on the law. I 
will appeal to the law too ; but when you have gone 
too far to recede, do not sue to me for leniency, when 
the power will have passed into other hands ; and do 
not say I plunged you down the gulf into which you 
rushed yourself." 

Monks was plainly disconcerted, and alarmed be 
sides. He hesitated. 

" You Avill decide quickly," said Mr. Brownlow, 
with perfect firmness and composure. " If you wish 
me to prefer my charges publicly, and consign you 
to a punishment the extent of which, although I can, 
with a shudder, foresee, I can not control once more, 
I say, you know the way. If not, and you appeal 
to my forbearance and the mercy of those you have 
deeply injured, seat yourself, without a word, in that 
chair. It has waited for you two whole days." 

Monks muttered some unintelligible words, but 
wavered still. 

"You will be prompt," said Mr. Brownlow. "A 
word from me, and the alternative has gone forever." 



(Still the man hesitated. 

" I have not the inclination to parley," said Mr. 
Brownlow, " and, as I advocate the dearest interests 
of others, I have not the right." 

"Is there " demanded Monks, with a faltering 
tongue " is there no middle course?" 

" None." 

Monks looked at the old gentleman with an anx 
ious eye ; but reading in his countenance nothing but 
severity and determination, Avalked into the room, 
and, shrugging his shoulders, sat down. 

" Lock the door 011 the outside," said Mr. Brown- 
low to the attendants, " and come when I ring." 

The men obeyed, and the two were left alone to 
gether. 

" This is pretty treatment, sir," said Monks, throw 
ing down his hat and cloak, " from my father's old 
est friend." 

"It is because I was your father's oldest friend, 
young man," returned Mr. Browulow ; " it is because 
the hopes aud wishes of young and happy years were 
bound up with him and that fair creature of his 
blood and kindred who rejoined her God in youth, 
and left me here a solitary, lonely man ; it is because 
he kuelt with me beside his only sister's death-bed 
when he was yet a boy, on the morning that would 
but Heaven willed otherwise have made her my 
young wife ; it is because my seared heart clung to 
him, from that time forth, through all his trials and 
errors, till he died ; it is because old recollections 
and associations filled my heart, and even the sight 
of you brings with it old thoughts of him ; it is be 
cause of all these things that I am moved to treat 
you gently now yes, Edward Leeford, even now 
and blush for your unworthiness who bear the 
name." 

" What has the name to do with it ?" asked the 
other, after contemplating, half in silence, and half 
in dogged wonder, the agitation of his companion. 
" What is the name to me ?" 

" Nothing," replied Mr. Brownlow ; " nothing to 
you. But it was hers, and, even at this distance of 
time, brings back to me, an old man, the glow and 
thrill which I once felt, only to hear it repeated by 
a stranger. I am very glad you have changed it 
very very." 

" This is all mighty fine," said Monks (to retain 
his assumed designation), after a long silence, during 
which he had jerked himself in sullen defiance to 
and fro, and Mr. Brownlow had sat shading his face 
with his hand. " But what do you want with me f 

" You have a brother," said Mr. Brownlow, rousing 
himself " a brother, the whisper of whose name in 
your ear when I came behind you in the street was, 
in itself, almost enough to make you accompany me 
hither, in wonder and alarm." 

" I have no brother," replied Monks. " You know 
I was an only child. Why do you talk to me of 
brothers ? You know that, as well as I." 

"Attend to what I do know, and you may not," 
said Mr. Brownlow. I shall interest you by-and-by. 
I know that of the wretched marriage into which 
family pride, and the most sordid and narrowest of all 
ambition, forced your unhappy father when a mere 
boy, you were the sole and most unnatural issue." 

" I don't care for hard names," interrupted Monks, 



ME. BBOWNLOW TELLS A TALE. 



155 



with a jeering laugh. " You kuow the fact, and 
that's enough for me." 

"But I also kuow," pursued the old gentleman, 
"the misery, the slow torture, the protracted an 
guish, of that ill-assorted union. I kuow how list 
lessly and wearily each of that wretched pair drag 
ged on their heavy chain through a world that was 
poisoned to them both. I know how cold formalities 
were succeeded by open taunts; how indifference 
gave place to dislike, dislike to hate, and hate to 
loathing, until at last they wrenched the clanking 
bond asunder, and retiring a wide space apart, car 
ried each a galling fragment, of which nothing but 
death could break the rivets, to hide it in new so 
ciety beneath the gayest looks they could assume. 
Your mother succeeded she forgot it soon. But it 
rusted and cankered at your father's heart for years." 
Well, they were separated," said Monks; "and 
what of that?" 

When they had been separated for some time," 
returned Mr. Browulow, " and your mother, wholly 
given up to continental frivolities, had utterly for 
gotten the young husband, ten good years her junior, 
who, with prospects blighted, lingered on at home, 
he fell among new friends. This circumstance, at 
least, you know already." 

" Not I," said Monks, turning away his eyes and 
beating his foot upon the ground, as a man who is 
determined to deny every thing. " Not I." 

" Your manner, no less than your actions, assures 
me that you have never forgotten it, or ceased to 
think of it with bitterness," returned Mr. Brownlow. 
" I speak of fifteen years ago, when you were not 
more than eleven years old, and your father but one- 
a nd-thirty for he was, I repeat, a boy when his fa 
ther ordered him to marry. Must I go back to events 
which cast a shade upon the memory of your parent, 
or will you spare it, and disclose to me the truth ?" 

" I have nothing to disclose," rejoined Monks. 
" You must talk on if you will." 

"These new friends, then," said Mr. Brownlow, 
" were a naval officer, retired from active service, 
whose wife had died some half a year before, and left 
him with two children there had been more, but, 
of all their family, happily but two survived. They 
were both daughters; one a beautiful creature of 
nineteen, and the other a mere child of two or three 
years old." 

" What's this to me ?" asked Monks. 
" They resided," said Mr. Brownlow, without seem 
ing to hear the interruption, " in a part of the coun 
try to which your father in his wandering had re 
paired, and where he had taken up his abode. Ac 
quaintance, intimacy, friendship, fast followed on 
each other. Your father was gifted as few men are. 
He had his sister's soul and person. As the old offi 
cer knew him more and more, he grew to love him. 
I would that it had ended there. His daughter did 
the same." 

The old gentleman paused Mcnks was biting his 
lips, with his eyes fixed upon the floor. Seeing this, 
he immediately resumed : 

" The end of a year found him contracted, sol 
emnly contracted, to that daughter the object of 
tin- first, true, ardent, only passion of a guileless 
girl." 



" Your tale is o*f the longest," observed Monks, 
moving restlessly in his chair. 

"It. is a true tale of grief and trial and sorrow, 
young man," returned Mr. Browulow ; " and such 
tales usually are : if it were one of unmixed joy and 
happiness, it would be very brief. At length one of 
those rich relations, to strengthen whose interest and 
importance your father had been sacrificed, as others 
are often it is no uncommon case died, and, to re 
pair the misery he had been instrumental in occasion 
ing, left him his panacea for all griefs Money. It 
was necessary that he should immediately repair to 
Rome, whither this man had sped for health, and 
where he had died, leaving his affairs in great confu 
sion. He went, was seized with mortal illness there ; 
was followed the moment the intelligence reached 
Paris by your mother, who carried you with her ; he 
died the day after her arrival, leaving no will no 
will so that the whole property fell to her and you." 

At this part of the recital, Monks held his breath 
and listened with a face of intense eagerness, though 
his eyes were not directed toward the speaker. As 
Mr. Brownlow paused, he changed his position with 
the air of one who has experienced a sudden relief, 
and wiped his hot face and hands. 

" Before he went abroad, and as he passed through 
London on his way," said Mr. Brownlow, slowly, and 
fixing his eyes upon the other's face, " he came to 
me." 

" I never heard of that," interrupted Monks, in a 
tone intended to appear incredulous, but savoring 
more of disagreeable surprise. 

" He came to me, and left with me, among some 
other things, a picture a portrait painted by him 
self a likeness of this poor girl which he did not 
wish to leave behind, and could not carry forward on 
his hasty journey. He was worn, by anxiety and re 
morse, almost to a shadow ; talked in a wild, dis 
tracted way of ruin and dishonor worked by himself; 
confided to me his intention to convert his whole 
property, at any loss, into money, and, having set 
tled on his wife and you a portion of his recent ac 
quisition, to fly the country I guessed too well he 
would not fly alone and never see it more. Even 
from me, his old and early friend, whose strong at 
tachment had taken root in the earth that covered 
one most dear to both even from me he withheld 
any more particular confession, promising to write 
and tell me all, and after that to see me once again 
for the last time on earth. Alas ! That was the last 
time. I had no letter, and I never saw him more. 

" I went," said Mr. Browulow, after a short pause ; 
" I went, when all was over, to the scene of his I 
will vise the term the world would freely use, for 
worldly harshness or favor are now alike to him of 
his guilty love, resolved that if my fears were real 
ized, that erring child should find one heart and 
home to shelter and compassionate her. The family 
had left that part a week before ; they had called in 
such trifling debts as were outstanding, discharged 
them, and left the place by night. Why, or whither, 
none can tell." 

Monks drew his breath yet more freely, and looked 
round with a smile of triumph. 

" When your brother," said Mr. Brownlow, draw 
ing nearer to the other's chair " when your broth- 



156 



OLIVER TWIST. 



er a feeble, ragged, neglected (fliild was cast in 
my way by a stronger hand than chance, and res 
cued by me from a life of vice and infamy 

" What ?" cried Monks. 

" By me," said Mr. Brownlow. " I told you I should 
interest you before long. I say by me I see that your 
cunning associate suppressed my name, although, for 
aught he knew, it would be quite strange to your ears. 
When he was rescued by me, then, and lay recover 
ing from sickness in my house, his strong resemblance 
to this picture I have spoken of struck me with as 
tonishment. Even when I first saw him in all his 
dirt and misery, there was a lingering expression in 
his face that came upon me like a glimpse of some 
old friend flashing on one in a vivid dream. I need 
not tell you he was snared away before I knew his 
history 

" Why not ?" asked Monks, hastily. 

" Because you know it well." 
a j j 

" Denial to me is vain," replied Mr. Brownlow. 
" I shall show you that I know more than that." 

" You you can't prove any thing against me," 
stammered Monks. " I defy you to do it !" 

" We shall see," returned the old gentleman, with 
a searching glance. " I lost the boy, and no efforts 
of mine could recover him. Your mother being dead, 
I knew that you alone could solve the mystery if 
any body could; and as when I had last heard of 
you you were on your own estate in the West Indies 
whither, as you well know, you retired upon your 
mother's death to escape the consequences of vicious 
courses here I made the voyage. You had left it 
months before, and were supposed to be in London ; 
but no one could tell where. I returned. Your agents 
had no clue to your residence. You came and went, 
they said, as strangely as you had ever done some 
times for days together and sometimes not for mouths 
keeping, to all appearance, the same low haunts, 
and mingling with the same infamous herd who 
had been your associates when a fierce, ungovern 
able boy. I wearied them with new applications. I 
paced the streets by night and day, but, until two 
hours ago, all my efforts were fruitless, and I never 
saw you for an instant." 

"And now you do see me," said Monks, rising bold 
ly, " what then ? Fraud and robbery are high-sound- 
iug words justified, you think, by a fancied resem 
blance in some young imp to an idle daub of a dead 
man's. Brother ! you don't even know that a child 
was born of this maudlin pair ; you don't even know 
that," 

" I did not," replied Mr. Brownlow, rising too ; " but 
within the last fortnight I have learned it all. You 
have a brother : you know it and him. There was a 
will, which your mother destroyed, leaving the secret 
and the gain to you at her own death. It contained 
a reference to some child likely to be the result of 
this sad connection, which child was born, and acci 
dentally encountered by you, when your suspicions 
were first awakened by his resemblance to his father. 
You repaired to the place of his birth. There exist 
ed proofs proofs long suppressed of his birth and 
parentage. Those proofs were destroyed by you, and 
now, in your own words to your accomplice the Jew, 
l tlw only proofs of the boy's identity lie at the bottom of 



the river, and the old hay that received them from tlic 
mother is rotting in her coffin. 1 Unworthy son, coward, 
liar you, who hold your councils with thieves and 
murderers in dark rooms at night you, whose plots 
and wiles have brought a violent death upon the 
head of one worth millions such as you you, who 
from your cradle were gall and bitterness to your own 
father's heart, and in whom all evil passions, vice, 
and profligacy festered, till they found a vent in a 
hideous disease which has made your face an index 
even to your mind you, Edward Leeford, do you 
still brave me !" 

"No, no, no!" returned the coward, overwhelmed 
by these accumulated charges. 

" Every word !" cried the old gentleman, " every 
word that has passed between you and this detested 
villain is known to me. Shadows on the wall have 
caught your whispers, and brought them to my ear ; 
the sight of the persecuted child has turned vice it 
self, and given it the courage and almost the attri 
butes of virtue. Murder has been done, to which 
you were morally if not really a party." 

" No, no," interposed Monks. " I I know noth 
ing of that ; I was going to inquire the truth of the 
story when you overtook me. I didn't know the 
cause. I thought it was a common quarrel." 

" It was the partial disclosure of your secrets," re 
plied Mr. Bro willow. " Will you disclose the whole f ' 

"Yes, I will." 

" Set your hand to a statement of truth and facts, 
and repeat it before witnesses ?" 

" That I promise too." 

"Remain quietly here until such a document is 
drawn up, and proceed with me to such a place as I 
may deem most advisible, for the purpose of attest 
ing it ?" 

" If you insist upon that, I'll do that also," replied 
Monks. 

" You must do more than that," said Mr. Brown- 
low. "Make restitution to an innocent and unof 
fending child ; for such he is, although the offspring 
of a guilty and most miserable love. You have not 
forgotten the provisions of the will. Carry them 
into execution so far as your brother is concerned, 
and then go where you please. In this world you 
need meet no more." 

While Monks was pacing up and down, meditating 
with dark and evil looks on this proposal and the 
possibilities of evading it torn by his fears on the 
one hand and his hatred on the other the door was 
hurriedly unlocked, and a gentleman (Mr. Losberue) 
entered the room in violent agitation. 

" The man will be taken," he cried. " He will be 
taken to-night." 

" The murderer ?" asked Mr. Brownlow. 

" Yes, yes," replied the other. " His dog has been 
seen lurking about some old haunt, and there seems 
little doubt that his master either is, or will be, there. 
under cover of the darkness. Spies are hovering 
about in every direction. I have spoken to the men 
who are charged with his capture, and they tell me 
he can not escape. A reward of a hundred pounds 
is proclaimed by Government to-night." 

" I will give fifty more," said Mr. Brownlow, " and 
proclaim it with my own lips upon the spot, if I can 
reach it. Where is Mr. May lie ?" 



JACOB'S ISLAND FOLLY DITCH. 



157 



" Harry ? As soon as he had seen your friend here, 
safe in a coach with you, he hnrried off to where he 
heard this," replied the doctor, " and, mounting his 
horse, sallied forth to join the first party at some 
place in the outskirts agreed upon between them." 

" Fagiu ?" said Mr. Brownlow ; " what of him ?" 

" When I last heard, he had not been taken, but 
he will be, or is, by this time. They're sure of him." 

" Have you made up your mind?" asked Mr. Brown- 
low, in a low voice, of Monks. 

"Yes," he replied. "You you will be secret 
with me ?" 

" I will. Remain here till I return. It is your 
only hope of safety." 

They left the room, and the door was again locked. 

" What have you done ?" asked the doctor, in a 
whisper. 

"All -that I could hope to do, and even more. 
Coupling the poor girl's intelligence with my previ 
ous knowledge, and the result of our good friend's 
inquiries on the spot, I left him no loop-hole of es 
cape, and laid bare the whole villainy which by 
these lights became plain as day. Write and ap 
point the evening after to-morrow, at seven, for the 
meeting. We shall be down there a few hours be 
fore, but shall require rest, especially the young lady, 
who may have greater need of firmness than either 
you or I can quite foresee just now. But my blood 
boils to avenge this poor murdered creature. Which 
way have they taken ?" 

" Drive straight to the office and you will be in 
time," replied Mr. Losberne. " I will remain here." 

The two gentlemen hastily separated, each in a 
fever of excitement wholly uncontrollable. 



CHAPTER L. 

THE PURSUIT AND ESCAPE. 

"VTEAR to that part of the Thames on which the 
J_ i church at Rotherhithe abuts, where the build 
ings on the banks are dirtiest and the vessels on the 
river blackest with the dust of colliers and the smoke 
of close-built low-roofed houses, there exists the 
filthiest, the strangest, the most extraordinary of the 
many localities that are hidden in London, wholly 
unknown, even by name, to the great mass of its in 
habitants. 

To reach this place the visitor has to penetrate 
through a maze of close, narrow, and muddy streets, 
thronged by the roughest and poorest of water-side 
people, and devoted to the traffic they may be sup 
posed to occasion. The cheapest and least delicate 
provisions are heaped in the shops ; the coarsest and 
commonest articles of wearing apparel dangle at the 
salesman's door, and stream from the house parapet 
and windows. Jostling with unemployed laborers 
of the lowest class, ballast -heavers, coal-whippers, 
brazen women, ragged children, and the raff and ref 
use of the river, he makes his way with difficulty 
along, assailed by offensive sights and smells from 
the narrow alleys which branch off on the right and 
left, and deafened by the clash of ponderous wagons 
that bear great piles of merchant! ise from the stacks 
of warehouses that rise from every corner. Arriv 



ing, at length, in streets remoter and less frequented 
than those through which he has passed, he walks 
beneath tottering house-fronts projecting over the 
pavement, dismantled walls that seem to totter as 
he passes, chimneys half crushed, half hesitating to 
fall, windows guarded by rusty iron bars that time 
and dirt have almost eaten away, and every imagi 
nable sign of desolation and neglect. 

In such a neighborhood, beyond Dockhead, in the 
borough of Southwark, stands Jacob's Island, sur 
rounded by a muddy ditch, six or eight feet deep 
and fifteen or twenty wide when the tide is in, once 
called Mill Pond, but known in the days of this sto 
ry as Folly Ditch. It is a creek or inlet from the 
Thames, and can always be filled at high water by 
opening the sluices at the Lead Mills, from which it 
took its old name. At such times a stranger, look 
ing from one of the wooden bridges thrown across it 
at Mill Lane, will see the inhabitants of the houses 
on either side lowering from their backdoors and 
windows, buckets, pails, domestic utensils of all 
kinds, in which to haul the water up ; and when his 
eye is turned from these operations to the houses 
themselves, his utmost astonishment will be excited 
by the scene before him. Crazy wooden galleries 
common to the backs of half a dozen houses, with 
holes from which to look upon the slime beneath ; 
windows, broken and patched, with poles thrust out, 
on which to dry the linen that is never there ; rooms 
so small, so filthy, so confined, that the air would 
seem too tainted even for the dirt and squalor which 
they shelter; wooden chambers thrusting themselves 
out above the mud, and threatening to fall into it 
as some have done ; dirt-besmeared walls and decay 
ing foundations ; every repulsive lineament of pov 
erty, every loathsome indication of filth, rot, and gar 
bage ; all these ornament the banks of Folly Ditch. 

In Jacob's Island the warehouses are roofless and 
empty ; the walls are crumbling down ; the windows 
are windows no more ; the doors are falling into the 
streets ; the chimneys are blackened, but they yield 
no smoke. Thirty or. forty years ago, before losses 
and chancery suits came upon it, it was a thriving 
place ; but now it is a desolate island indeed. The 
houses have no owners ; they are broken open and 
entered upon by those who have the courage ; and 
there they live and there they die. They must have 
powerful motives for a secret residence, or be reduced 
to a destitute condition indeed, who seek a refuge in 
Jacob's Island. 

In an upper room of one of these houses a de 
tached house of fair size, ruinous in other respects, 
but strongly defended at door and window, of which 
house the back commanded the ditch in manner al 
ready described there were assembled three men, 
who, regarding each other every now and then with 
looks expressive of perplexity and expectation, sat 
for some time in profound and gloomy silence. One 
of these was Toby Crackit, another Mr. Chitling. and 
the third a robber of fifty years, whose nose had been 
almost beaten in, in some old scuffle, and whose face 
bore a frightful scar which might probably be traced 
to the same occasion. This man was a returned 
transport, and his name was Kags. 

" I wish," said Toby, turning to Mr. Chitling, " that 
you had picked out some other crib when the two 



158 



OLIVER TWIST. 



old ones got too warm, and had not come here, my 
fine feller." 

" Why didn't yon, blunderhead ?" said Kags. 

" Well, I thought you'd have been a little more 
glad to see me than this," replied Mr. Chitling, with 
a melancholy air. 

"Why look'e, young gentleman," said Toby, "when 
a man keeps himself so very ex-elusive as I have 
done, and by that means has a snug house over his 
head, with nobody a-pryiug and smelling about it, 
it's rather a startling thing to have the honor of a 
wisit from a young gentleman (however respectable 
and pleasant a person he may be to play cards with 
at conweniency) circumstanced as you are." 

" Especially when the exclusive young man has 
got a friend stopping with him that's arrived sooner 
than was expected from foreign parts, and is too 
modest to want to be presented to the Judges ou his 
return," added Mr. Kags. 

There was a short silence, after which Toby Crack- 
it, seeming to abandon as hopeless any further eifort 
to maintain his usual devil-may-care swagger, turn 
ed to Chitliug and said, 

" When was Fagin took, then ?" 

"Just at dinner-time two o'clock this afternoon. 
Charley and I made our lucky up the wash'us chim 
ney, and Bolter got into the empty water-butt, head 
downward ; but his legs were so precious long that 
they stuck out at the top, and so they took him too." 

"And Bet?" 

" Poor Bet ! She went to see the Body, to speak 
to who it was," replied Chitling, his countenance 
falling more and more, " and went off mad, scream 
ing and raving, and beating her head against the 
boards ; so they put a strait-weskut on her and took 
her to the hospital and there she is." 

" Wot's come of young Bates ?" demanded Kags. 

" He hung about, not to come over here afore dark ; 
but he'll be here soon," replied Chitliug. " There's 
nowhere else to go to now, for the people at The 
Cripples are all in custody, and the bar of the ken 
I went up there and see it with my own eyes is 
filled with traps." 

" This is a smash !" observed Toby, biting his lips. 
" There's more than one will go with this." 

" The Sessions are on," said Kags. " If they get 
the inquest over, and Bolter turns king's evidence 
as of course he will, from what he's said already 
they can prove Fagin an accessory before the fact, 
and get the trial on on Friday, and he'll swing in six 
days from this, by G !" 

" You should have heard the people groan," said 
Chitling ; " the officers fought like devils, or they'd 
have torn him away. He was down once, but they 
made a ring round him, and fought their way along. 
You should have seen how he looked about him, all 
muddy and bleeding, and clung to them as if they 
were his dearest friends. I can see 7 em now, not 
able to stand upright with the pressing of the mob, 
and dragging him along among 'em ; I can see the 
people jumping up, one behind another, and snarl 
ing with their teeth and making at him like wild 
beasts ; I can see the blood upon his hair and beard, 
and hear the cries with which the women worked 
themselves into the centre of the crowd at the street 
corner, and swore they'd tear his heart out !" 



The horror-stricken witness of this scene pressed 
his hands upon his ears, and Avith his eyes closed got 
up and paced violently to and fro, like one distracted. 

While he was thus engaged, and the two men sat 
by in silence with their eyes fixed upon the floor, a 
pattering noise was heard upon the stairs, and Sikes's 
dog bounded into the room. They ran to the win 
dow, down stairs, and into the street. The dog had 
jumped in at an open window ; he made no attempt 
to follow them, nor was his master to be seen. 

" What's the meaning of this ?" said Toby, when 
they had returned. " He can't be coming here. I 
I hope not." 

" If he was coming here, he'd have come with the 
dog," said Kags, stooping down to examine the ani 
mal, who lay panting on the floor. " Here ! Give 
us some water for him ; he has run himself faint." 

" He's drunk it all up, every drop," said Chitling, 
after watching the dog for some time in silence. 
"Covered with mud lame half blind he must 
have come a long way." 

" Where can he have come from !" exclaimed Toby. 
" He's been to the other kens of course, and finding 
them filled with strangers, come on here, where he's 
been many a time and often. But where can he 
have come from first, and how comes he here alone 
without the other !" 

" He !" (none of them called the murderer by his 
old name) " he can't have made away with himself. 
What do you think ?" said Chitling. 

Toby shook his head. 

" If he had," said Kags, " the dog 'ud want to lead 
us away to where he did it. No. I think he's got 
out of the country, and left the dog behind. He 
must have given him the slip somehow, or he wouldn't 
be so easy." 

This solution, appearing the most probable one, 
was adopted as the right ; and the dog creeping un 
der a chair, coiled himself up to sleep, without more 
notice from any body. 

It being now dark, the shutter was closed, and a 
candle lighted and placed upon the table. The ter 
rible events of the last two days had made a deep 
impression on all three, increased by the danger and 
uncertainty of their own position. They drew their 
chairs closer together, starting at every sound. They 
spoke little, and that in whispers, and were as silent 
and awe-stricken as if the remains of the murdered 
woman lay in the next room. 

They had sat tints some time, when suddenly was 
heard a hurried knocking at the door below. 

" Young Bates," said Kags, looking angrily round, 
to check the fear he felt himself. 

The knocking came again. No. it wasn't he. He 
never knocked like that. 

Crackit went to the window, and, shaking all over, 
drew in his head. There was no need to tell them 
who it was ; his pale face was enough. The dog. 
too, was on the alert in an instant, and ran whining 
to the door. 

"We must let him in," he said, taking up the 
candle. 

" Isn't there any help for it ?" asked the other man 
in a hoarse voice. 

" None. He must come in." 

" Don't leave us in the dark," said Kags, taking 



SIKES AXD THE BOY CHARLEY. 



159 



down a candle from the chimney-piece, and lighting 
it, with such a trembling hand that the knocking 
was twice repeated before he had finished. 

Crackit went down to the door, and returned fol 
lowed by a man with the lower part of his face 
buried in a handkerchief and another tied over his 
head under his hat. He drew them slowly off. 
Blanched face, sunken eyes, hollow cheeks, beard of 
three days' growth, wasted flesh, short thick breath ; 
it was the very ghost of Sikes. 

He laid his hand upon a chair which stood in the 
middle of the room, but, shuddering as he was about 
to drop into it, and seeming to glance over his shoul 
der, dragged it back close to the wall as close as it 
would go ground it against it and sat down. 

Not a word had been exchanged. He looked from 
one to another in silence. If an eye were furtively 
raised and met his, it was instantly averted. When 
his hollow voice broke silence, they all three started. 
They seemed never to have heard its tones before. 

" How came that dog here ?" he asked. 

"Alone. Three hours ago." 

" To-night's paper says that Fagin's taken. Is it 
true, or a lie ?" 

" True." 

They were silent again. 

"D you all!" said Sikes, passing his hand across 
his forehead. " Have yon nothing to say to me f" 

There was an uneasy movement among them, but 
nobody spoke. 

" You that keep this house," said Sikes, turning 
his face to Crackit, " do yon mean to sell me, or to 
let me lie here till this hunt is over ?" 

" You may stop here, if you think it safe," returned 
the person addressed, after some hesitation. 

Sikes carried his eyes slowly up the wall behind 
him, rather trying to turn his head than actually 
doing it, and said, " Is it the body is it buried ?" 

They shook their heads. 

" Why isn't it ?" he retorted, with the same glance 
behind him. "Wot do they keep such ugly things 
above the ground for ? Who's that knocking ?" 

Crackit intimated, by a motion of his hand as he 
left the room, that there was nothing to fear ; and 
directly came back with Charley Bates behind him. 
Sikes sat opposite the door, so that the moment the 
boy entered the room he encountered his figure. 

" Toby," said the boy, falling back, as Sikes turned 
his eyes toward him, "why didn't you tell me this 
down stairs ?" 

There had been something so tremendous in the 
shrinking off of the three, that the wretched man 
was willing to propitiate even this lad. According 
ly he nodded, and made as though he would shake 
hands with him. 

" Let me go into some other room," said the boy, 
retreating still farther. 

" Charley !" said Sikes, stepping forward. " Don't 
you don't you know me ?" 

" Don't come nearer me," answered the boy, still 
retreating, and looking, with horror in his eyes, upon 
the murderer's face. " You monster !" 

The man stopped half-way, and they looked at 
each other ; but Sikes's eyes sunk gradually to the 
ground. 

" Witness you three," cried the boy, shaking his 



clenched fist, and becoming more and more excited 
as he spoke. "Witness you three I'm not afraid 
of him if they come here after him, I'll give him 
np; I will. I tell you out at once. He may kill 
me for it if he likes, or if he dares, but if I'm here 
I'll give him up. I'd give him up if he was to be 
boiled alive. Murder ! Help ! If there's the pluck 
of a man among you three, you'll help me. Murder ! 
Help ! Down with him !" 

Pouring out these cries, and accompanying them 
with violent gesticulation, the boy actually threw 
himself, single-handed, upon the strong man, and in 
the intensity of his energy and the suddenness of his 
surprise, brought him heavily to the ground. 

The three spectators seemed quite stupefied. They 
offered no inteference, and the boy and man rolled 
on the ground together ; the former, heedless of the 
blows that showered upon him, wrenching his hands 
tighter and tighter in the garments about the mur 
derer's breast, and never ceasing to call for help 
with all his might. 

The contest, however, was too unequal to last 
long. Sikes had him down, and his knee was on his 
throat, when Crackit pulled him back with a look 
of alarm, and pointed to the window. There were 
lights gleaming below, voices in loud and earnest 
conversation, the tramp of hurried footsteps end 
less they seemed in number crossing the nearest 
wooden bridge. One man on horseback seemed to 
be among the crowd; for there was the noise of 
hoofs rattling on the uneven pavement. The gleam 
of lights increased ; the footsteps came more thickly 
and noisily on. Then came a loud knocking at the 
door, and then a hoarse murmur from such a multi 
tude of angry voices as would have made the bold 
est quail. 

" Help !" shrieked the boy, in a voice that rent the 
air. " He's here ! Break down the door!" 

" In the king's name," cried the voices without ; 
and the the hoarse cry arose again, but louder. 

" Break down the door !" screamed the boy. " I 
tell you they'll never open it ! Run straight to tin- 
room where the light is. Break down the door !" 

Strokes thick and heavy rattled upon the door 
and lower window-shutters as he ceased to speak. 
and a loud huzzah burst from the crowd, giving the 
listener, for the first time, some adequate idea of its 
immense extent. 

" Open the door of some place where I can lock this 
screeching hell-babe!" cried Sikes, fiercely, running 
to and fro, and dragging the boy now as easily as it 
he were an empty sack. " That door. Quick !" 
He flung him in, bolted it, and turned the key. " Is 
the down stairs door fast ?" 

"Double-locked and chained," replied Crackit, 
who, with the other two men, still remained quite 
helpless and bewildered. 

' The panels are they strong ?" 
Lined with sheet-iron." 
And the windows too f " 

' Yes, and the windows." 

' D you !" cried the desperate ruffian, throwing 
up the sash and menacing the crowd. " Do your 
worst ! I'll cheat you yet !" 

Of all the terrific yells that ever fell on mortal 
ears, none could exceed the cry of the infuriated 



160 



OLIVER TWIST. 



throng. Some shouted to those who were nearest 
to set the house on lire ; others roared to the officers 
to shoot him dead. Among them all, none showed 
snch fury as the man on horseback, who, throwing 
himself out of the saddle, and bursting through the 
crowd as if he were parting water, cried, beneath 
the window, in a voice that rose above all others, 
" Twenty guineas to the man who brings a ladder !" 
The nearest voices took up the cry, and hundreds 
echoed it. Some called for ladders, some for sledge 
hammers ; some ran with torches to and fro as if to 
seek them, and still came back and roared again; 
some spent their breath in impotent curses and exe 
crations ; some pressed forward with the ecstasy of 
madmen, and thus impeded the progress of those be 
low; some among the boldest attempted to climb 



room where the boy was locked, and that was too 
small even for the passage of his body. But, from 
this aperture, he had never ceased to call on those 
without to guard the back ; and thus, when the mur 
derer emerged at last on the house-top by the door 
in the roof, a loud shout proclaimed the fact to those 
in front, who immediately began to pour round, press 
ing upon each other in one unbroken stream. 

He planted a board, which he had carried up with 
him for the purpose, so firmly against the door that 
it must be matter of great difficulty to open it from 
the inside ; and creeping over the tiles, looked over 
the low parapet. 

The water was out, and the ditch a bed of mud. 

The crowd had been hushed during these few mo 
ments, watching his motions and doubtful of hispur- 




"AND CHEEPING OVER THE TILES, LOOKED OVEU THE LOW PAKAPET." 



up by the water-spoilt and crevices in the wall ; and 
all waved to and fro, in the darkness beneath, like a 
field of corn moved by an angry wind, and joined 
from time to time in one loud furious roar. 

"The tide," cried the murderer, as he staggered 
back into the room, and shut the faces out, " the tide 
was in as I came up. Give me a rope, a long rope. 
They're all in front. I may drop into the Folly Ditch, 
aud clear off that way. Give me a rope, or I shall 
do three more murders and kill myself." 

The panic-stricken men pointed to where such ar 
ticles were kept ; the murderer, hastily selecting the 
longest and strongest cord, hurried up to the house 
top. 

All the windows in the rear of the house had been 
long ago bricked up, except one small trap in the 



pose, but the instant they perceived it and knew it 
was defeated they raised a cry of triumphant exe 
cration to which all their previous shouting had 
been whispers. Again and again it rose. Those 
who were at too great a distance to know its mean 
ing took up the sound ; it echoed and re-echoed ; it 
seemed as though the whole city had poured its pop 
ulation out to curse him. 

On pressed the people from the front on, on, on, 
in a strong struggling current of angry faces, with 
here and there a glaring torch to light them up, and 
show them out in all their wrath and passion. The 
houses on the opposite side of the ditch had been en 
tered by the mob ; sashes were thrown up, or torn 
bodily out ; there were tiers and tiers of faces in ev 
ery window, and cluster upon cluster of people cling- 



OLIVER EE 'VIS ITS HIS BIRTHPLACE. 



131 



ing to every house-top. Each little bridge (arid there 
were three in sight) beiit beneath the weight of the 
crowd upon it. Still the current poured on to find 
some nook or hole from which to vent their shouts, 
and only for an instant see the wretch. 

" They have him now !" cried a man on the nearest 
bridge. ' ' Hurrah !" 

The crowd grew light with uncovered heads ; and 
again the shout uprose. 

" I will give fifty pounds," cried an old gentleman 
from the same quarter, " to the man who takes him 
alive. I will remain here till he comes to ask me 
for it." 

There was another roar. At this moment the 
word was passed among the crowd that* the door 
was forced at last, and that he who had first called 
for the ladder had mounted into the room. The 
stream abruptly turned as this intelligence ran from 
mouth to mouth; and the people at the windows, 
seeing those upon the bridges pouring back, quitted 
their stations, and, running into the street, joined the 
concourse that now thronged pell-mell to the spot 
they had left, each man crushing and striving with 
his neighbor, and all panting with impatience to get 
near the door, and look npoii the criminal as the of 
ficers brought him out. The cries and shrieks of 
those who were pressed almost to suffocation, or 
trampled down and trodden under foot in the con 
fusion, were dreadful ; the narrow ways were com 
pletely blocked up ; and at this time, between the 
rush of some to regain the space in front of the 
house, and the unavailing struggles of others to ex- 
tricate themselves from the mass, the immediate at 
tention was distracted from the murderer, although 
the universal eagerness for his capture was, if possi 
ble, increased. 

The man had shrank down, thoroughly quelled by 
the ferocity of the crowd and the impossibility of 
escape ; but seeiug this sudden change with no less 
rapidity than it had occurred, he sprang upon his 
feet, determiued to make one last effort for his life 
by dropping into the ditch, and, at the risk of being 
stifled, endeavoring to creep away in the darkness 
and confusion. 

Roused into new strength and energy, and stimu 
lated by the noise within the house, which announced 
that an entrance had really been effected, he set his 
foot against the stack of chimneys, fastened one end 
of the rope tightly and firmly round it, and with the 
other made a strong running noose, by the aid of his 
hands and teeth, almost in a second. He could let 
himself down by the cord to within a less distance 
of the ground than his own height, and had his knife 
ready in his hand to cut it then and drop. 

At the very instant when he brought the loop over 
his head previous to slipping it beneath his armpits, 
and when the old gentleman before mentioned (who 
had clung so tight to the railing of the bridge as to 
resist the force of the crowd, and retain his position) 
earnestly warned those about him that the man was 
about to lower himself down at that very instant 
the murderer, looking behind him on the roof, threw 
his arms above his head and uttered a yell of terror. 

" The eyes again !" he cried, in an unearthly 
screech. 

Staggering as if struck by lightning, he lost his 
L 



balance and tumbled over the parapet. The noose 
was on his neck. It ran up with his weight tight as 
a bow-string, and swift as the arrow it speeds. He 
fell for five-aud-thirty feet. There was a sudden 
jerk, a terrific convulsion of the limbs ; and there he 
hung, with the open knife clinched in his stiffening 
hand. 

The old chimney quivered with the shock, but 
stood it bravely. The murderer swung lifeless 
against the wall ; and the boy, thrusting aside the 
dangling body which obscured his view, called to 
the people to come and take him out, for God's sake. 

A dog which had lain concealed till now ran back 
ward and forward on the parapet with a dismal howl, 
and collecting himself for a spring, jumped for the 
dead man's shoulders. Missing his aim, he fell into 
the ditch, turning completely over as he went, and 
striking his head against a stone, dashed out his 
brains. 



CHAPTER LI. 

AFFORDING AN EXPLANATION OF MORE MYSTERIES THAN 
ONE, AND COMPREHENDING A PROPOSAL OF MARRIAGE 
WITH NO WORD OF SETTLEMENT OR PIN-MONEY. 

THE events narrated in the last chapter were yet 
but two days old when Oliver found himself, at 
three o'clock in the afternoon, in a traveling-carnage 
rolling fast toward his native town. Mrs. Maylie, 
and Rose, and Mrs. Bedwiu, and the good doctor, 
were with him ; and Mr. Brownlow followed in a 
post-chaise, accompanied by one other person, whose 
name had not been mentioned. 

They had not talked much upon the way ; for Ol 
iver was in a flutter of agitation and uncertainty 
which deprived him of the power of collecting his 
thoughts, and almost of speech, and appeared to 
have scarcely less effect on his companions, who 
shared it in at least an equal degree. He and the 
two ladies had been very carefully made acquainted 
by Mr. Brownlow with the nature of the admissions 
which had been forced from Monks; and although 
they knew that the object of their present journey 
was to complete the work which had been so well 
begun, still the whole matter was enveloped in 
enough of doubt and mystery to leave them in en 
durance of the most intense suspense. 

The same kind friend had, with Mr. Losberne's as 
sistance, cautiously stopped all channels of commu 
nication through which they could receive intelli 
gence of the dreadful occurrences that had so recent 
ly taken place. " It was quite true," he said, " that 
they must know them before long, but it might be at 
a better time than the present, and it could not be at 
a worse." So they traveled on in silence, each busied 
with reflections on the object which had brought 
them together, and no one disposed to give utterance 
to the thoughts which crowded upon all. 

But if Oliver, under these influences, had remained 
silent while they journeyed toward his birthplace 
by a road he had never seen, how the whole current 
of his recollections ran back to old times, and what a 
crowd of emotions were wakened up in his breast. 
when they turned into that which he had traversed 



162 



OLIVER TWIST. 



on foot a poor houseless, wandering boy, without a 
friend to help him, or a roof to shelter his head. 

" See there, there ! cried Oliver, eagerly clasping 
the hand of Rose, and pointing out at the carriage 
window ; " that's the stile I caine over ; there are the 
hedges I crept behind, for fear any one should over 
take me arid force me back! Yonder is the path 
across the iields, leading to the old house where I 
was a little child ! Oh Dick, Dick, my dear old friend, 
if I could only see you now !" 

" You will see him soon," replied Rose, gently tak 
ing his folded hands between her own. " You shall 
tell him how happy you are, and how rich you have 
grown, and that in all your happiness you have none 
so great as the coming back to make him happy too." 

" Yes, yes." said Oliver, " and we'll we'll take him 
away from here, and have him clothed and taught, 
and send him to some quiet country place where he 
may grow strong and well shall we ?" 

Rose nodded " yes ;" for the boy was smiling 
through such happy tears that she could not speak. 

" You will be kind and good to him, for you are to 
every one," said Oliver. "It will make you cry, I 
know, to hear what he can tell ; but never mind, 
never mind : it will be all over, and you will smile 
again I know that too to think how changed he 
is ; you did the same with me. He said ' God bless 
you ' to me when I ran away," cried the boy, with a 
burst of affectionate emotion, " and I will say ' God 
bless you ' now, and show him how I love him for it !" 

As they approached the town, and at length drove 
through its narrow streets, it became matter of no 
small difficulty to restrain the boy within reasonable 
bounds. There was Sowerberry's, the undertaker's, 
just as it used to be, only smaller and less imposing 
in appearance than he remembered it there were 
all the well-known shops and houses, with almost ev 
ery one of which he had some slight incident con 
nected there was Gamfield's cart, the very cart he 
used to have, standing at the old public-house door 
there was the work-house, the dreary prison of his 
youthful days, with its dismal windows frowning on 
the street there was the same lean porter standing 
at the gate, at sight of whom Oliver involuntarily 
shrunk back, and then laughed at himself for being 
so foolish, then cried, then laughed again there were 
scores of faces at the doors and windows that he knew 
quite well there was nearly every thing as if he 
had left it but yesterday, and all his recent life had 
been but a happy dream. 

But it was pure, earnest, joyful reality. They 
drove straight to the door of the chief hotel (which 
Oliver used to stare up at with awe, and think a 
mighty palace, but which had somehow fallen off in 
grandeur and size); and here was Mr. Grim wig all 
ready to receive them, kissing the young lady, and 
the old one too, when they got out of the coach, as if 
he were the grandfather of the whole party, all smiles 
and kindness, and not offering to eat his head no, 
not once ; not even when he contradicted a very old 
postboy about the nearest road to London, and main 
tained he knew it best, though he had only come that 
way once, and that time fast asleep. There was din 
ner prepared, and there were bedrooms ready, and 
every thing was arranged as if by magic. 

Notwithstanding all this, when the hurry of the 



first half hour was over, the same silence and con 
straint prevailed that had marked their journey 
down. Mr. Brownlow did not join them at dinner, 
but remained in a separate room. The two other 
gentlemen hurried in and out with anxious faces, 
and during the short intervals when they were pres 
ent conversed apart. Once Mrs. Maylie was called 
away, and, after being absent for nearly an hour, re 
turned with eyes swollen with weeping. All these 
things made Rose and Oliver, who were not in any 
new secrets, nervous and uncomfortable. They sat 
wondering, in silence ; or, if they exchanged a few 
words, spoke in whispers, as if they were afraid to 
hear the sound of their own voices. 

At length, when nine o'clock had come, and they 
began to think they were to hear no more that night, 
Mr. Losberne and Mr. Grimwig entered the room, fol 
lowed by Mr. Brownlow and a man whom Oliver al 
most shrieked with surprise to see ; for they told him 
it was his brother, and it was the same man he had 
met at the market-town, and seen looking in with 
Fagin at the window of his little room. Monks cast 
a look of hate, which, even then, he could not dissem 
ble, at the astonished boy, and sat down near the 
door. Mr. Brownlow, who had papers in his hand, 
walked to a table near which Rose and Oliver were 
seated. 

" This is a painful task," said he, " but these dec 
larations, which have been signed in London before 
many gentlemen, must be in substance repeated here. 
I would have spared you the degradation, but we 
must hear them from your own lips before we part, 
and you know why." 

" Go on," said the person addressed, turning away 
his face. " Quick. I have almost done enough, I 
think. Don't keep me here." 

" This child," said Mr. Brownlow, drawing Oliver 
to him, and laying his hand upon his head, " is your 
half-brother ; the illegitimate son of your father, my 
dear friend Edwin Leeford, by poor young Agnes 
Fleming, who died in giving him birth." 

" Yes," said Monks, scowling at the trembling boy, 
the beating of whose heart he might have heard. 
" That is their bastard child." 

"The term you use," said Mr. Brownlow, sternly, 
"is a reproach to those who long since passed be 
yond the feeble censure of the world. It reflects 
disgrace on no one living, except you who use it. 
Let that pass. He was born in this town." 

" In the work-house of this town," was the sullen 
reply. " You have the story there." He pointed im 
patiently to the papers as he spoke. 

"I must have it here, too," said Mr. Brownlow, 
looking round upon the listeners. 

" Listen then ! You !" returned Monks. " His fa 
ther being taken ill at Rome, was joined by his wife, 
my mother, from whom he had been long separated, 
who went from Paris and took me with her to look 
after his property, for what I know, for she had no 
great affection for him, nor he for her. He knew 
nothing of us, for his senses were gone, and he slum 
bered on till next day, when he died. Among the 
papers in his desk were two, dated on the night his 
illness first came on, directed to yourself " he ad 
dressed himself to Mr. Brownlow " and inclosed in 
a few short lines to you, with an intimation on the 



RELUCTANT ADMISSIONS. 



163 



cover of the package that it was not to be forwarded 
till after he was dead. One of these papers was a 
letter to this girl Agnes ; the other a will." 

" What of the letter ?" asked Mr. Brownlow. 

" The letter ? A sheet of paper crossed and cross 
ed again, with a penitent confession, and prayers to 
God to help her. He had palmed a tale on the girl 
that some secret mystery to be explained one day 
prevented his marrying her just then ; and so she 
had gone on; trusting patiently to him, until she 
trusted too far, and lost what none could ever give 
her back. She was at that time within a few months 
of her confinement. He told her all he had meant 
to do to hide her shame if he had lived, and prayed 
her, if he died, not to curse his memory, or think the 
consequences of their sin would be visited on her or 
their young child; for all the guilt was his. He re 
minded her of the day he had given her the little 
locket and the ring with her Christian name en 
graved upon it, and a blank left for that which he 
hoped one day to have bestowed upon her prayed 
her yet to keep it, and wear it next her heart, as she 
had done before and then ran on wildly in the same 
words, over and over again, as if he had gone dis 
tracted. I believe he had." 

" The will," said Mr. Brownlow, as Oliver's tears 
fell fast. 

Monks was silent. 

"The will," said Mr. Brownlow, speaking for him, 
" was in the same spirit as the letter. He talked of 
miseries which his wife had brought upon him ; of 
the rebellious disposition, vice, malice, and prema 
ture bad passions of you, his only son, who had been 
trained to hate him ; and left you and your mother 
each an annuity of eight hundred pounds. The bulk 
of his property he divided into two equal portions 
one for Agues Fleming, and the other for their child, 
if it should be born alive and ever come of age. If it 
were a girl, it was to inherit the money uncondition 
ally ; but if a boy, only on the stipulation that in his 
minority he should never have stained his name with 
any public act of dishonor, meanness, cowardice, or 
wrong. He did this, he said, to mark his confidence 
in the mother, and his conviction only strengthen 
ed by approaching death that the child would share 
her gentle heart and noble nature. If he were dis 
appointed in this expectation, then the money was 
to come to you; for then, and not till then, when 
both children were equal, would he recognize your 
prior claim upon his purse, who had none upon his 
heart, but had, from an infant, repulsed him with 
coldness and aversion. 

"My mother," said Monks, in a louder tone, "did 
what a woman should have done. She burned this 
will. The letter never reached its destination ; but 
that and other proofs she kept, in case they ever 
tried to lie away the blot. The girl's father had the 
truth from her with every aggravation that her vio 
lent hate I love her for it now could add. Goad 
ed by shame and dishonor, he fled with his children 
into a remote corner of Wales, changing his very 
name, that his friends might never know of his re 
treat ; and here, no great while afterward, he was 
found dead in his bed. The girl had left her home, 
in secret, some weeks before ; he had searched for 
her, on foot, in every town and village near ; it was 



on the night when he returned home, assured that 
she had destroyed herself to hide her shame and his, 
that his old heart broke. 

There was a short silence here, until Mr. Brown- 
low took up the thread of the narrative. 

" Years after this," he said, " this man's Edward 
Leeford's mother came to me. He had left her 
when only eighteen; robbed her of jewels and mon 
ey; gambled, squandered, forged, and fled to Lon 
don, where for two years he had associated with the 
lowest outcasts. She was sinking under a painful 
and incurable disease, and wished to recover him be 
fore she died. Inquiries were set on foot, and strict 
searches made. They were unavailing for a long 
time, but ultimately successful ; and he went back 
with her to France." 

" There she died," said Monks, " after a lingering 
illness ; and on her death-bed she bequeathed these 
secrets to me, together with her unquenchable and 
deadly hatred of all whom they involved though 
she need not have left me that, for I had inherited 
it long before. She would not believe that the girl 
had destroyed herself and the child too, but was 
filled with the impression that a male child had been 
born, and was alive. I swore to her, if ever it cross 
ed my path, to hunt it down ; never to let it rest ; to 
pursue it with the bitterest and most unrelenting 
animosity ; to vent upon it the hatred that I deeply 
felt, and to spit upon the empty vaunt of that insult 
ing will by dragging it, if I could, to the very gal 
lows-foot. She was right. He came in my way at 
last. I began well ; and, but for babbling drabs, I 
would have finished as I began !" 

As the villain folded his arms tight together, and 
muttered curses on himself in the impotence of baf 
fled malice, Mr. Brownlow turned to the terrified 
group beside him, and explained that the Jew, who 
had been his old accomplice and confidant, had a 
large reward for keeping Oliver ensnared, of which 
some part was to be given up in the event of his be 
ing rescued, and that a dispute on this head had led 
to their visit to the country house for the purpose of 
identifying him. 

" The locket and ring ?" said Mr. Brownlow, turn 
ing to Monks. 

" I bought them from the man and woman I told 
you of, who stole them from the nurse, who stole 
them from the corpse," answered Monks, without 
raising his eyes. " You know what became of them." 

Mr. Brownlow merely nodded to Mr. Grimwig, who, 
disappearing with great alacrity, shortly returned, 
pushing in Mrs. Bumble, and dragging her unwilling 
consort after him. 

" Do my hi's deceive me !" cried Mr. Bumble, with 
ill-feigned enthusiasm, " or is that little Oliver ? Oh 
Ol-i-ver, if you know'd how I've been a-grieving for 
you " 

" Hold your tongue, fool !" murmured Mrs. Bumble. 

"Isn't natur natur, Mrs. Bumble?" remonstrated 
the work-house master. " Can't I be supposed to 
feel / as brought him up porochially when I see 
him a setting here among ladies and gentlemen of 
the very affablest description ! I always loved that 
boy as if he'd been my my my own grandfather," 
said Mr. Bumble, halting for an appropriate compar 
ison. " Master Oliver, my dear, you remember the 



Iu4 



OLIVER TWIST. 



blessed gentleman in the white waistcoat ? Ah ! he 
went to heaven last week, in a oak coffin with plated 
handles, Oliver." 

" Come, sir," said Mr. Grimwig, tartly ; " suppress 
your feelings." 

" I will do my endeavors, sir," replied Mr. Bumble. 
" How do you do, sir ? I hope you are very well." 

This salutation was addressed to Mr. Brownlow, 
who had stepped up to within a short distance of the 
respectable couple. He inquired, as he pointed to 
Monks : 

" Do you know that person ?" 

li No," replied Mrs. Bumble, flatly. 

" Perhaps you don't ?" said Mr. Brownlow, address 
ing her spouse. 

" I never saw him in all my life," said Mr. Bum 
ble. 

" Nor sold him any thing, perhaps ?" 

" No," replied Mrs. Bumble. 

"You never had, perhaps, a certain gold locket 
and ring ?" said Mr. Brownlow. 

" Certainly not," replied the matron. " Why are 
we brought here to answer to such nonsense as this ?" 

Again Mr. Brownlow nodded to Mr. Grimwig ; and 
again that gentleman limped away with extraordi 
nary readiness. But not again did he return with a 
stout man and his wife ; for this time he led in two 
palsied women, who shook and tottered as they 
walked. 

"You shut the door the night old Sally died," said 
the foremost one, raising her shriveled hand, " but 
you couldn't shut out the sound, nor stop the chinks." 

" No, no," said the other, looking round her and 
wagging her toothless jaws. " No, no, no." 

" We heard her try to tell you what she'd done, 
and saw you take a paper from her hand, and watch 
ed you too, next day, to the pawnbroker's shop," said 
the first. 

"Yes," added the second, "and it was a 'locket 
and gold ring.' We found out that, and saw it given 
you. We were by. Oh ! we were by." 

"And we know more than that," resumed the first, 
" for she told us often, long ago, that the young moth 
er had told her that, feeling she should never get 
over it, she was on her way, at the time she was tak 
en ill, to die near the grave of the father of the child." 

" Would you like to see the pawnbroker himself?" 
asked Mr. Grimwig, with a motion toward the door. 

" No," replied the woman ; " if he " she pointed 
to Monks " has been coward enough to confess, as I 
see he has, and you have sounded all these hags till 
you have found the right ones, I have nothing more 
to say. I did sell them, and they're where you'll 
never get them. What then ?" 

" Nothing," replied Mr. Brownlow, " except that it 
remains for us to take care that neither of you is em 
ployed in a situation of trust again. You may leave 
the room." 

" I hope," said Mr. Bumble, looking about him with 
great ruefulness, as Mr. Grimwig disappeared with 
the two old women " I hope that this unfortunate 
little circumstance will not deprive me of my poro- 
chial office ?" 

" Indeed it will," replied Mr. Brownlow. " You 
may make up your mind to that, and think yourself 
well off besides." 



" It was all Mrs. Bumble. She would do it," urged 
Mr. Bumble, first looking round to ascertain that his 
partner had left the room. 

" That is no excuse," replied Mr. Brownlow. " You 
were present on the occasion of the destruction of 
these trinkets, and indeed are the more guilty of the 
two, in the eye of the law ; for the law supposes that 
your wife acts under your direction." 

"If the law supposes that," said Mr. Bumble, 
squeezing his hat emphatically in both hands, " the 
law is a ass a idiot. If that's the eye of the law, 
the law is a bachelor ; and the worst I wish the law 
is, that his eye may be opened by experience by ex 
perience." 

Laying great stress on the repetition of these two 
words, Mr. Bumble fixed his hat on very tight, and, 
putting his hands in his pockets, followed his help 
mate down stairs. 

"Young lady," said Mr. Brownlow, turning to Rose, 
"give me your hand. Do not tremble. You need 
not fear to hear the few remaining words we have to 
say." 

" If they have I do not know how they can, but 
if they have any reference to me," said Rose, " pray 
let me hear them at some other time. I have not 
strength or spirits now." 

" Nay," returned the old gentleman, drawing her 
arm through his; "you have more fortitude than 
this, I am sure. Do you know this young lady, sir ?" 

" Yes," replied Monks. 

" I never saw you before," said Rose, faintly. 

" I have seen you often," returned Monks. 

" The father of the unhappy Agnes had two daugh 
ters," said Mr. Brownlow. " What was the fate of 
the other the child?" 

" The child," replied Monks ; " when her father 
died in a strange place, in a strange name, without a 
letter, book, or scrap of paper that yielded the faint 
est clue by which his friends or relatives could be 
traced the child was taken by some wretched cot 
tagers, who reared it as their own." 

" Go on," said Mr. Brownlow, signing to Mrs. May- 
lie to approach. " Go on !" 

" You couldn't find the spot to which these people 
had repaired," said Monks ; " but where friendship 
fails, hatred will often force a way. My mother 
found it, after a year of cunning search ay, and 
found the child." 

"She took it, did she?" 

" No. The people were poor and began to sicken 
at least the man did of their fine humanity ; so 
she left it with them, giving them a small present of 
money which would not last long, and promising 
more, which she never meant to send. She didn't 
quite rely, however, on their discontent and poverty 
for the child's unhappiness, but told the histoiy of 
her sister's shame, with such alterations as suited 
her ; bade them take good heed of the child, for she 
came of bad blood ; and told them she was illegiti 
mate, and sure to go wrong at one time or other. 
The circumstances countenanced all this ; the people 
believed it ; and there the child dragged on an ex 
istence, miserable enough even to satisfy us, until a 
widow lady, residing then at Chester, saw the girl 
by chance, pitied her, and took her home. There was 
some cursed spell, I think, against us ; for in spite of 



OLIVER FINDS A NEW RELATION. 



165 



all our efforts she remained there and was happy. I 
lost sight of her two or three years ago, and saw her 
no more until a few months back." 

" Do you see her now ?" 

" Yes. Leaning on your arm." 

" But not the less my niece," cried Mrs. Maylie, 
folding the fainting girl in her arms ; " not the less 
my dearest child. I would not lose her now for all 
the treasures of the world. My sweet companion, 
my own dear girl !" 

" The only friend I ever had," cried Rose, clinging 
to her. " The kindest, best of friends. My heart 
will burst. I can not bear all this !" 

" You have borne more, and have been through 



Joy and grief were mingled in the cup ; but there 
were no bitter tears : for even grief itself arose so 
softened, and clothed in such sweet and tender rec 
ollections, that it became a solemn pleasure, and lost 
all character of pain. 

They were a long, long time alone. A soft tap at 
the door at length announced that some one was 
without. Oliver opened it, glided away, and gave 
place to Harry Maylie. 

" I know it all," he said, taking a seat beside the 
lovely girl. " Dear Rose, I know it all." 

" I am not here by accident," he added, after a 
lengthened silence; "nor have I heard all this to 
night, for I knew it yesterday only yesterday. Do 




"DO YOU KNOW THIS YOITNG LADJT, SIB?" 



all the best and gentlest creature that ever shed 
happiness on every one she knew," said Mrs. Maylie, 
embracing her tenderly. " Come, come, my love, re 
member who this is who waits to clasp you in his 
arms, poor child ! See here look, look, my dear !" 

" Not aunt," cried Oliver, throwing his arms about 
her neck ; " I'll never call her aunt sister, my own 
dear sister, that something taught my heart to love 
so dearly from the first ! Rose ! dear, darling 
Rose!" 

Let the tears which fell, and the broken words 
which were exchanged in the long close embrace be 
tween the orphans, be sacred. A father, sister, and 
mother were gained and lost in that one moment. 



you guess that I have come to remind you of a 
promise ?" 

" Stay," said Rose. " You do know all." 

"All. You gave me leave, at any time within a 
year, to renew the subject of our last discourse." 

" I did." 

" Not to press you to alter your determination," 
pursued the young man, " but to hear you repeat it, 
if you would. I was to lay whatever of station or 
fortune I might possess at your feet ; and if you still 
adhered to your former determination, I pledged my 
self, by no word or act, to seek to change it." 

" The same reasons which influenced nie then will 
influence me now," said Rose, firmly. "If I ever 



IOC 



OLIVER TWIST. 



owed a strict and rigid duty to her whose goodness 
saved me from a life of indigence and suffering, when 
should I ever feel it as I should to-night ? It is a 
struggle," said Rose, " but one I am proud to make ; 
it is a pang, but one my heart shall bear." 

" The disclosure of to-night " Harry began. 

" The disclosure of to-night/' replied Rose, softly, 
" leaves me in the same position, with reference to 
you, as that in which I stood before." 

" You harden your heart against me, Rose," urged 
her lover. 

" Oh, Harry, Harry," said the young lady, bursting 
into tears, " I wish I could, and spare myself this 
pain." 

" Then why inflict *t on yourself?" said Harry, tak 
ing her hand. " Think, dear Rose, think what you 
have heard to-night." 

" And what have I heard ! What have I heard !" 
cried Rose. " That a sense of his deep disgrace so 
worked upon my own father that he shunned all 
there, we have said enough, Harry, we have said 
enough." 

" Not yet, not yet," said the young man, detaining 
her as she rose. " My hopes, my wishes, prospects, 
feelings every thought in life except my love for 
you have undergone a change. I offer you, now, 
no distinction among a bustling crowd ; no mingling 
with a world of malice and detraction, where the 
blood is called into honest cheeks by aught but real 
disgrace and shame ; but a home a heart and home 
yes, dearest Rose ; and those, and those alone, are 
all I have to offer." 

" What do you mean ?" she faltered. 

" I mean but this that when I left you last, I left 
you with a firm determination to level all fancied 
barriers between yourself and me ; resolved that if 
my world could not be yours, I would make yours 
mine ; that no pride of birth should curl the lip at 
you, for I would turn from it. This I have 'done. 
Those who have shrunk from me because of this, 
have shrunk from you, and proved you so far right. 
Such power and patronage, such relatives of influence 
and rank, as smiled upon me then, look coldly now ; 
but there are smiling fields and waving trees in En 
gland's richest county ; and by one village church- 
mine, Rose, my own ! there stands a rustic dwelling 
which you can make me prouder of than all the 
hopes I have renounced, measured a thousand-fold. 
This is my rank and station now, and here I lay it 

down !" 

****** 

" It's a trying thing waiting supper for lovers," 
said Mr. Grimwig, waking up, and pulling his pock 
et-handkerchief from over his head. 

Truth to tell, the supper had been waiting a most 
unreasonable time. Neither Mrs. Maylie, nor Harry, 
nor Rose (who all came in together), could offer a 
word in extenuation. 

"I had serious thoughts of eating my head to 
night," said Mr. Grimwig, " for I began to think I 
should get nothing else. I'll take the liberty, if 
you'll allow me, of saluting the bride that is to be." 

Mr. Grimwig lost no time in carrying this notice 
into effect upon the blushing girl ; and the example 
being contagious, was followed both by the doctor 
and Mr. Brownlow : some people affirm that Harry 



Maylie had been observed to set it, originally, in a 
dark room adjoining ; but the best authorities con 
sider this downright scandal, he being young and a 
clergyman. 

" Oliver, my child," said Mrs. Maylie, " where have 
you been, and why do you look so sad ? There are 
tears stealing down your face at this moment. What 
is the matter ?" 

It is a world of disappointment often to the 
hopes we most cherish, and hopes that do our nature 
the greatest honor. 

Poor Dick was dead ! 



CHAPTER LII. 

FAGIN'S LAST NIGHT ALIVE. 

rTIHE court was paved from floor to roof with hu- 
i man faces. Inquisitive and eager eyes peered 
from every inch of space. From the rail before the 
dock, away into the sharpest angle of the smallest 
corner in the galleries, all looks were fixed upon one 
man Fagin. Before him and behind above, be 
low, on the right and on the left he seemed to 
stand surrounded by a firmament all .bright with 
gleaming eyes. 

He stood there, in all this glare of living light, 
with one hand resting on the wooden slab before 
him, the other held to his ear, and his head thrust 
forward to enable him to catch with greater dis 
tinctness every word that fell from the presiding 
judge, who was delivering his charge to the jury. 
At times he turned his eyes sharply upon them, to 
observe the effect of the slightest feather-weight in 
his favor; and when the points against him were 
stated with terrible distinctness, looked toward his 
counsel, in mute appeal that he would, even then, 
urge something in his behalf. Beyond these mani 
festations of anxiety, he stirred not hand or foot. 
He had scarcely moved since the trial began ; and 
now that the judge ceased to speak, he still remain 
ed in the same strained attitude of close attention, 
with his gaze bent on him, as though he listened 
still. 

A slight bustle in the court recalled him to him 
self. Looking round, he saw that the jurymen had 
turned together, to consider of their verdict. As his 
eyes wandered to the gallery, he could see the people 
rising above each other to see his face, some hastily 
applying their glasses to their eyes, and others whis 
pering their neighbors with looks expressive of ab 
horrence. A few there were who seemed unmindful 
of him, and looked only to the jury, in impatient 
wonder how they could delay. But in no one face 
not even among the women, of whom there were 
many there could he read the faintest sympathy 
with himself, or any feeling but one of all-absorbing 
interest that he should be condemned. 

As he saw all this in one bewildered glance, the 
death-like stillness came again, and looking back, he 
saw that the jurymen had turned toward the judge. 
Hush! 

They only sought permission to retire. 

He looked wistfully into their faces, one by one, 
when they passed out, as though to see which way 



WAXDEHIXG MIND AXD IMPRISONED BODY. 



167 



the greater number leaned; but that was fruitless. 
The jailer touched him on the shoulder. He follow 
ed mechanically to the end of the dock, and sat down 
on a chair. The man pointed it out, or he would not 
have seen it. 

He looked up into the gallery again. Some of the 
people were eating, and some fanning themselves 
with handkerchiefs ; for the crowded place was very 
hot. There was one young man sketching his face 
in a little note-book. He wondered whether it was 
like, and looked on when the artist broke his pencil- 
point and made another with his knife, as any idle 
spectator might have done. 

In the same way, when he turned his eyes toward 
the judge, his mind began to busy itself with the 
fashion of his dress, and what it cost, and how he 
put it on. There was an old fat gentleman on the 
bench, too, who had gone out some half an hour 
before, and now come back. He wondered within 
himself whether this man had been to get his dinner, 
what he had had, and where he had had it ; and pur 
sued this train of careless thought until some new 
object caught his eye and roused another. 

Not. that, all this time, his mind was for an instant 
free from one oppressive, overwhelming sense of the 
grave that opened at his feet : it was ever present to 
him, but in a vague and general way, and he could 
not fix his thoughfs upon it. Thus, even while he 
trembled, and turned burning hot at the idea of 
speedy death, he fell to counting the iron spikes be 
fore him, and wondering how the head of one had 
been broken off, and whether they would mend it, or 
leave it as it was. Then he thought of all the hor 
rors of the gallows and the scaffold and stopped to 
watch a man sprinkling the floor to cool it and 
then went on to think again. 

At length there was a cry of silence, and a breath 
less look from all toward the door. The jury re 
turned, and passed him close. He could glean noth 
ing from their faces ; they might as well have been 
of stone. Perfect stillness ensued not a rustle not 
a breath Guilty. 

The building rang with a tremendous shout, and 
another, and another, and then it echoed loud groans, 
that gathered strength as. they swelled out, like an 
gry thunder. It was a peal of joy from the populace 
outside, greeting the news that he would die on 
Monday. 

The noise subsided, and he was asked if he had 
any thing to say why sentence of death should not 
be passed upon him. He had resumed his listening 
attitude, and looked intently at his questioner while 
the demand was made ; but it was twice repeated 
before he seemed to hear it, and then he only mut 
tered that he was an old man an old man an old 
man and so, dropping into a whisper, was silent 
again. 

The judge assumed the black cap, and the prisoner 
still stood with the same air and gesture. A woman 
in the gallery uttered some exclamation, called forth 
by this dread solemnity; he looked hastily up as if 
angry at the interruption, and bent forward yet more 
attentively. The address was solemn and impress 
ive, the sentence fearful to hear. But he stood like 
a marble figure, without the motion of a nerve. His 
. haggard face was still thrust forward, lib uuder-jaw 



hanging down, and his eyes staring out before him, 
| when the jailer put his hand upon his arm, and beck 
oned him away. He gazed stupidly about him for 
an instant, and obeyed. 

They led him through a paved room under the 
court, where some prisoners were waiting till their 
turns came, and others were talking to their friends, 
who crowded round a grate which looked into the 
open yard. There was nobody there to speak to 
him; but, as he passed, the prisoners fell back to ren 
der him more visible to the people who were cling 
ing to the bars ; and they assailed him with oppro 
brious names, and screeched and hissed. He shook 
his fist, and would have spat upon them ; but his 
conductors hurried him on, through a gloomy pas 
sage lighted by a few dim lamps, into the interior of 
the prison. 

Here he was searched, that he might not have 
| about him the means of anticipating the law ; this 
j ceremony performed, they led him to one of the con 
demned cells, and left him there alone. 

He sat down on a stone bench opposite the door, 
which served for seat and bedstead ; and casting his 
blood-shot eyes upon the ground, tried to collect his 
thoughts. After a while he began to remember a 
few disjointed fragments of what the judge had said, 
though it had seemed to him at the time that he 
could not hear a word. These gradually fell into 
their proper places, and by degrees suggested more ; 
so that in a little time he had the whole, almost as 
it was delivered. To be hanged by the neck till he 
was dead that was the end. To be hanged by the 
neck till he was dead. 

As it came on very dark, he began to think of all 
the men he had known who had died upon the scaf 
fold some of them through his means. They rose 
up in such quick succession that he could hardly 
count them. He had seen some of them die and 
had joked, too, because they died with prayers upon 
their lips. With what a rattling noise the drop 
went down ! and how suddenly they changed from 
strong and vigorous men to dangling heaps of 
clothes! 

Some of them might have inhabited that very cell 
sat upon that very spot. It was very dark ; why 
didn't they bring a light ? The cell had been built 
for many years. Scores of men must have passed 
their last hours there. It was like sitting in a vault 
strewn with dead bodies the cap, the noose, the 
pinioned arms, the faces that he knew, even beneath 
that hideous veil. Light ! light ! 

At length, when his hands were raw with beating 

against the heavy door and walls, two men appeared, 

] one bearing a candle, which he thrust into an iron 

j candlestick fixed against the wall, the other dragging 

in a mattress on which to pass the night; for the 

prisoner was to be left alone no more. 

Then came night dark, dismal, silent night. 
Other watchers are glad to hear the church-clocks 
strike, for they tell of life and coming day. To him 
they brought despair. The boom of every iron bell 
came laden with the one deep, hollow sound Death. 
What availed the noise and bustle of cheerful morn 
ing, which penetrated even there, to him ? It was 
another form of knell, with mockery added to the 
warning. 



OLIVER TWIST. 



The day passed off. Day ? There was no day ; 
it was gone as soon as come and night came on 
again ; night so long, and yet so short ; long in its 
dreadful silence, and short in its fleeting hours. At 
one time he raved and blasphemed ; and at another 
howled and tore his hair. Venerable men of his own 
persuasion had come to pray beside him, but he had 
driven them away with curses. They renewed their 
charitable efforts, and he beat them off. 

Saturday night. He had only one night more to 
live. And as he thought of this, the day broke 
Sunday. 

It was not until the night of this last awful day, 
that a withering sense of his helpless, desperate state 
came in its full intensity upon his blighted soul ; not 
that he had ever held any denned or positive hope. of 



his head was bandaged with a linen cloth. His red 
hair hung down upon his bloodless face ; his beard 
was torn, and twisted into knots ; his eyes shone 
with a terrible light; his unwashed flesh crackled 
with the fever that burned him up. Eight nine 
ten. If it was not a trick to frighten him, and those 
were the real hours treading on each other's heels, 
where would he be when they came round again ! 
Eleven! Another struck, before the voice of the 
previous hour had ceased to vibrate. At eight, he 
would be the only mourner in his own funeral train ; 
at eleven 

Those dreadful walls of Newgate, which have hid 
den so much misery and such unspeakable anguish, 
not only from the eyes, but, too often, and too long, 
from the thoughts of men, never held so dread a 




" I1E BAT DOWN ON A STOA'E BENCH OPPOSITE THE DOOK." 



mercy, but that he had never been able to consider 
more than the dim probability of dying so soon. He 
had spoken little to either of the two men who re 
lieved each other in their attendance upon him ; and 
they, for their parts, made no effort to rouse his at 
tention. He had sat there, awake, but dreaming. 
Now, he started up every minute, and with gasping 
mouth and burning skin hurried to and fro, in such 
a paroxysm of fear and wrath that even they used 
to such sights recoiled from him with horror. He 
grew so terrible, at last, in all the tortures of his evil 
conscience, that one man could not bear to sit there, 
eying him, alone ; and so the two kept watch together. 
He cowered down upon his stone bed, and thought 
of the past. He had been wounded with some mis 
siles from the crowd on the day of his capture, and 



spectacle as that. The few who lingered as they 
passed, and wondered what the man was doing who 
was to be hanged to-morrow, would have slept but 
ill that night if they could have seen him. 

From early in the evening until nearly midnight 
little groups of two and three presented themselves 
at the lodge-gate, and inquired, with anxious faces, 
whether any reprieve had been received. These be 
ing answered in the negative, communicated the wel 
come intelligence to clusters in the street, who point 
ed out to one another the door from which he must 
come out, and showed where the scaffold would be 
built, and, walking with unwilling steps away, turn 
ed back to conjure up the scene. By degrees they 
fell off, one by one ; and for an hour, in the dead of 
r.ight, the street was left to solitude and darkness. 



CLOSING IX. 



169 



The space before the prison was cleared, and a 
few strong barriers, painted black, had been already 
thrown across the road to break the pressure of the 
expected crowd, when Mr. Browulow and Oliver ap 
peared at the wicket, and presented an order of ad 
mission to the prisoner, signed by one of the sheriffs. 
They were immediately admitted into the lodge. 

" Is the young gentleman to come too, sir ?" said 
the man whose duty it was to conduct them. " It's 
not a sight for children, sir."' 

" It is not, indeed, my friend," rejoined Mr. Brown- 
low ; " but my business with this man is intimately 
connected with him ; and as this child has seen him 
in the full career of his success and villainy, I think 
it as well even at the cost of some pain and fear 
that he should see him now." 

These few words had been said apart, so as to be 
inaudible to Oliver. The man touched his hat, and 
glancing at Oliver with some curiosity, opened an 
other gate opposite to that by which they had en 
tered, and led them on through dark and winding 
ways toward the cells. 

" This," said the man, stopping in a gloomy pas 
sage where a couple of workmen were making some 
preparations in profound silence " this is the place 
he passes through. If you step this way, you can 
see the door he goes out at." 

He led them into a stone kitchen, fitted with cop 
pers for dressing the prison food, and pointed to a 
door. There was an open grating above it through 
which came the sound of men's voices, mingled with 
the noise of hammering and the throwing down of 
boards. They were putting up the scaffold. 

From this place they passed through several strong 
gates, opened by other turnkeys from the inner side, 
and, having entered an open yard, ascended a flight 
of narrow steps and came into a passage with a row 
of strong doors on the left hand. Motioning them to 
remain where they were, the turnkey knocked at one 
of these with his bunch of keys. The two attend 
ants, after a little whispering, came out into the pas 
sage, stretching themselves as if glad of the tempo 
rary relief, and motioned the visitors to follow the 
jailer into the cell. They did so. 

The condemned criminal was seated on his bed, 
rocking himself from side to side, with a countenance 
more like that of a snared beast than the face of a 
man. His mind was evidently wandering to his old 
life, for he continued to mutter, without appearing 
conscious of their presence, otherwise than as a part 
of his vision : 

"Good boy, Charley well done," he mumbled. 
"Oliver too, ha! ha! ha! Oliver too quite the 
gentleman now quite the take that boy away to 
bed !" 

The jailer took the disengaged hand of Oliver, and, 
whispering him not to be alarmed, looked on with 
out speaking. 

" Take him away to bed !" cried Fagin. " Do you 
hear me, some of you ? He has been the the some 
how the cause of all this. It's worth the money to 
bring him up to it Bolter's throat, Bill ; never mind 
the girl Bolter's throat, as deep as you can cut. 
Saw his head off !" 

" Fagin," said the jailer. 

" That's me !" cried the Jew, falling instantly into 



the attitude of listening he had assumed upon hi* 
trial. "An old man, my lord ; a very old, old man !" 

" Here," said the turnkey, laying his hand upon 
his breast to keep him down, "here's somebody wants 
to see you, to ask you some questions, I suppose. Fa- 
gin, Fagiu ! Are you a man ?" 

" I sha'n't be one long," he replied, looking up 
with a face retaining no human expression but rage 
and terror. " Strike them all dead ! What right 
have they to butcher me ?" 

As he spoke he caught sight of Oliver and Mr. 
Brownlow. Shrinking to the farthest corner of the 
seat, he demanded to know what they wanted there. 

" Steady," said the turnkey, still holding him 
down. " Now, sir, tell him what you want. Quick, 
if you please, for he grows worse as the time gets on." 

" You have some papers," said Mr. Brownlow, ad 
vancing, " which were placed in your hands, for bet 
ter security, by a man called Monks." 

" It's all a lie together," replied Fagin. " I haven't 
one not one." 

" For the love of God," said Mr. Brownlow, solemn 
ly, " do not say that now, upon the very verge of 
death ; but tell me where they are. You know that 
Sikes is dead, that Monks has confessed, that there 
is no hope of any further gain. Where are those 
papers f " 

" Oliver," cried Fagin, beckoning to him. " Here, 
here ! Let me whisper to you." 

" I am not afraid," said Oliver, in a low voice, as 
he relinquished Mr. Brownlow's hand. 

" The papers," said Fagin, drawing Oliver toward 
him, " are in a canvas bag, in a hole a little way up 
the chimney in the top front-room. I want to talk 
to you, my dear. I want to talk to you." 

" Yes, yes," returned Oliver. " Let me say a prayer. 
Do! Let me say one prayer. Say only one upon 
your knees with me, and we will talk till morning." 

"Outside, outside," replied Fagin, pushing the boy 
before him toward the door, and looking vacantly 
over his head. " Say I've gone to sleep they'll be 
lieve you. You can get me out, if you take me so. 
Now then, now then !" 

" Oh ! God forgive this wretched man !" cried the 
boy, with a burst of tears. 

" That's right, that's right," said Fagin. " That'll 
help us on. This door first. If I shake and tremble 
as we pass the gallows, don't you mind, but hurry 
on. Now, now, now !" 

" Have you nothing else to ask him, sir ?" inquired 
the turnkey. 

" No other question," replied Mr. Brownlow. " If 
I hoped we could recall him to a sense of his posi 
tion ; 

" Nothing will do that, sir," replied the man, shak 
ing his head. " You had better leave him." 

The door of the cell opened, and the attendants 
returned. 

" Press on, press on !" cried Fagin. " Softly, but 
not so slow. Faster, faster !" 

The men laid hands upon him, and, disengaging 
Oliver from his grasp, held him back. He- struggled 
with the power of desperation for an instant ; and 
then sent up cry upon cry that penetrated even those 
massive walls, and rang in their ears until they 
reached the open yard. 



170 



OLIVER TWIST. 



*' It was some time before they left the prison. Ol 
iver nearly swooned after this frightful scene, and 
was so weak that for an hour or more he had not 
the strength to walk. 

Day was dawning when they again emerged. A 
great multitude had already assembled; the win 
dows were filled with people, smoking and playing 
cards to beguile the time ; the crowd were pushing, 
quarreling, joking. Every thing told of life and ani 
mation but one dark cluster of objects in the centre 
of all the black stage, the cross -beam, the rope, 
aiid all the hideous apparatus of death. 



CHAPTER LIII. 

AND LAST. 

THE fortunes of those who have figured in this 
tale are nearly closed. The little that remains 
to their historian to relate is told in few and simple 
words. 

Before three months had passed Rose Fleming and 
Harry Maylie were married in the village chnrch 
Which was henceforth to be the scene of the young 
clergyman's labors ; on the same day they entered 
into possession of their new and happy home. 

Mrs. Maylie took up her abode with her son and 
daughter-in-law, to enjoy, during the tranquil re 
mainder of her days, the greatest felicity that age 
and worth can know the contemplation of the hap 
piness of those on whom the warmest affections and 
teuderest cares of a well-spent life have been unceas 
ingly bestowed. 

It appeared, on full and careful investigation, that 
if the wreck of property remaining in the custody 
of Monks (which had never prospered either in his 
hands or in those of his mother) were equally di 
vided between himself and Oliver, it would yield to 
each little more than three thousand pounds. By 
the provisions of his father's will Oliver would have 
been entitled to the whole ; but Mr. Brownlow, un 
willing to deprive the eldest son of the opportunity 
of retrieving his former vices and pursuing an honest 
career, proposed this mode of distribution, to which 
his young charge joyfully acceded. 

Monks, still bearing that assumed name, retired 
with his portion to a distant part of the New World, 
where, having quickly squandered it, he once more 
fell into his old courses, and, after undergoing a long 
confinement for some fresh act of fraud and knavery, 
at length sunk under an attack of his old disorder, 
and died in prison. As far from home died the chief 
remaining members of his friend Fagin's gang. 

Mr. Brownlow adopted Oliver as his son. Remov 
ing with him and the old housekeeper to within a 
mile of the parsonage-house, where his dear friends 
resided, he gratified the only remaining wish of Oli 
ver's warm and earnest heart, and thus linked to 
gether a little society whose condition approached 
as nearly to one of perfect happiness as can ever be 
known in this changing world. 

Soon after the marriage of the young people the 
worthy doctor returned to Chertsey, where, bereft of 
the presence of his old friends, he would have been 



discontented, if his temperament had admitted of 
such a feeling, and would have turned quite peevish, 
if he had known how. For two or three months he 
contented himself with hinting that he feared the 
air began to disagree with him ; then, finding that 
the place really no longer was, to him, what it had 
been, he settled his business on his assistant, took a 
bachelor's cottage outside the village of which his 
young friend was pastor, and instantaneously recov 
ered. Here he took to gardening, planting, fishing, 
carpentering, and various other pursuits of a similar 
kind all undertaken with his characteristic im 
petuosity. In each and all he has since become fa 
mous throughout the neighborhood as a most pro 
found authority. 

Before his removal he had managed to contract a 
strong friendship for Mr. Grimwig, which that eccen 
tric gentleman cordially reciprocated. He is accord 
ingly visited by Mr. Grimwig a great many times in 
the course of the year. On all such occasions Mr. 
Grimwig plants, fishes, and carpenters with great 
ardor ; doing every thing in a very singular and un 
precedented manner, but always maintaining, with 
his favorite asseveration, that his mode is the right 
one. On Sundays he never fails to criticise the ser 
mon to the young clergyman's face, always inform 
ing Mr. Losberne, in strict confidence, afterward, that 
he considers it an excellent performance, but deems 
it as well not to say so. It is a standing and very 
favorite joke for Mr. Browulow to rally him on his 
old prophecy concerning Oliver, and to remind him 
of the night on which they sat with the watch be 
tween them, waiting his return ; but Mr. Grimwig 
contends that he was right in the main, and, in proof 
thereof, remarks that Oliver did not come back after 
all ; which always calls forth a laugh on his side, and 
increases his good-humor. 

Mr. Noah Claypole, receiving a free pardon from 
the Crown in consequence of being admitted ap 
prover against Fagin, and considering his profession 
not altogether as safe an one as he could wish, was, for 
some little time, at a loss for the means of a liveli 
hood not burdened with too much work. After some 
consideration, he went into business as an Informer, 
in which calling he realizes a genteel subsistence. 
His plan is, to walk out once a Aveek during church- 
time, attended by Charlotte, in respectable attire. 
The lady faints away at the doors of charitable pub 
licans, and the gentleman being accommodated with 
threepenny-worth of brandy to restore her, lays an 
information next day, and pockets half the penalty. 
Sometimes Mr. Claypole faints himself, but the result 
is the same. 

Mr. and Mrs. Bumble, deprived of their situations, 
were gradually reduced to great indigence and mis 
ery, and finally became paupers in that very same 
work-house in which they had once lorded it over 
others. Mr. Bumble has been heard to say that, in 
this reverse and degradation, he has not even spir 
its to be thankful for being separated from his 
wife. 

As to Mr. Giles and Brittles, they still remain in 
their old posts, although the former is bald and the 
last-named boy quite gray. They sleep at the par- 
sonage, but divide their attentions so equally among 
its inmates, and Oliver and Mr. Browulow, and Mr. 



S UPPLEMEXTARY. 



171 



Losberne, that to this day the villagers have never 
beeu able to discover to which establishment they 
properly belong. 

Master Charles Bates, appalled by Sikes's crime, 
fell into a train of reflection whether an honest life 
was not, after all, the best. Arriving at the conclu 
sion that it certainly was, he turned his back upon 
the scenes of the past, resolved to amend it in some 
new sphere of action. He struggled hard, and suf 
fered much, for some time, but, having a contented 
disposition and a good purpose, succeeded in the 
end ; and, from being a farmer's drudge, and a car 
rier's lad, he is now the merriest young grazier in all 
Northamptonshire. 

And now the hand that traces these words falters, 
as it approaches the conclusion of its task, and 
would weave, for a little longer space, the thread of 
these adventures. 

I vrould fain liuger yet with a few of those among 
whom I have so long moved, and share their hap 
piness by endeavoring to depict it. I would show 
fiose Maylie in all the bloom and grace of early 
womanhood, shedding on her secluded path in life 
soft and gentle light, that fell on all who trod it 
with her, and shone into their hearts. I would paiut 
her the life and joy of the fireside circle and the 
lively summer group ; I would follow her through 
the sultry fields at noon, and hear the low tones 
of her sweet voice in the moonlit evening walk ; I 
would watch her iu all her goodness and charity 
abroad, and the smiling, untiring discharge of do 
mestic duties at home; I would paint her and her 
dead sister's child happy in their love for one anoth 
er, and passing whole hours together in picturing 
the friends whom they had so sadly lost ; I would 



summon before me, once again, those joyous little 
faces that clustered round her knee, and listen to 
their merry prattle ; I would recall the tones of that 
clear laugh, and conjure up the sympathizing tear 
that glistened in the soft blue eye. These, and a 
thousand looks and smiles, and turns of thought and 
speech I would fain recall them every one. 

How Mr. Browulow \veut on, from day to day, fill 
ing the mind of his adopted child with stores of 
knowledge, and becoming attached to him more and 
more as his nature developed itself and showed the 
thriving seeds of all he wished him to become how 
he traced in him new traits of his early friend, that 
awakened in his own bosom old remembrances, mel 
ancholy and yet sweet and soothing how the two 
orphans, tried by adversity, remembered its lessens 
in mercy to others, and mutual love, and fervent 
thanks to Him who had protected and preserved 
them these are all matters which need not to be 
told. I have said that they were truly happy ; and 
without strong aifection and humanity of heart, and 
gratitude to that Being whose code is Mercy, and 
whose great attribute is Benevolence to all things 
that breathe, happiness can never be attained. 

Within the altar of the old village church there 
stands a white marble tablet, which bears as yet 
but one word " AGNES." There is no coffin in that 
tomb ; and may it be many, many years, before an 
other name is placed above it ! But if the spirits of 
the Dead ever come back to earth to visit spots hal 
lowed by the love the love beyond the grave of 
those whom they knew in life, I believe that the 
shade of Agnes sometimes hovers round that solemn 
nook. I believe it none the less because that nook 
is in a church, and she was weak and erring. 



THE EXD. 



VALUABLE STANDARD WORKS 



FOR PUBLIC AND PRIVATE LIBRARIES, 
PUBLISHED BY HARPER & BROTHERS, NEW YORK. 



For a full List of Books suitable for Libraries, see HARPER & BROTHERS' TRADE-LIST and CATALOGUE, which may be had gratui 
tously on application to the Publishers personally, or by letter inclosing Six Cent* to cover postage. 

HARPER & BROTHERS will send any of the following works by mail, postage prepaid, to any part of the United States, on receipt of 

the price. 



ABBOTT'S FREDERICK THE GREAT. The History of Fred 
erick the Second, called Frederick the Great. By JOHN S. C. 
ABBOTT. Elegantly Illustrated. Svo, Cloth, $5 00. 

ABBOTT'S HISTORY OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. The 
French Revolution of 1789, as viewed in the Light of Repub 
lican Institutions. By JOHN S. C. ABBOTT. With 100 Engrav 
ings. Svo, Cloth, $5 00. 

ABBOTT'S NAPOLEON BONAPARTE. The History of Na 
poleon Bonaparte. By JOHN S. C. ABBOTT. With Maps, 
Woodcuts, and Portraits on Steel. 2 vols., Svo, Cloth, $10 00. 

ABBOTT'S NAPOLEON AT ST. HELENA ; or, Interesting 
Anecdotes and Remarkable Conversations of the Emperor 
during the Five and a Half Years of his Captivity. Collected 
from the Memorials of Las Casas, O'Meara, Montholon, An- 
tommarchi, and others. By JOHN S. C. ABBOTT. With Illus 
trations. Svo, Cloth, $5 00. 

ABBOTT'S TRAINING OF THE YOUNG. Gentle Measures in 
the Management and Training of the Young. A Book for 
the Parents of Young Children. By JACOB ABBOTT. Illus 
trated. 12mo, Cloth, $1 75. 

ABBOTT'S LIFE OF CHRIST. Jesus of Nazareth : his Life 
and Teachings ; Founded on the Four Gospels, and Illustrated 
by Reference to the Manners, Customs, Religious Beliefs, and 
Political Institutions of his Times. By LYMAN ABBOTT. With 
Designs by Dore, Delaroche, Fenn, and others. Crown Svo, 
Cloth, Beveled Edges, $3 50. 

ABBOTT'S OLD TESTAMENT SHADOWS. Old Testament 
Shadows of New Testament Truths. By LYMAN ABBOTT. 
Elegantly Illustrated from Designs by Dore, Delaroche, Dur 
ham, and Parsons. Svo, Cloth, $3 00 ; Gilt Edges, $3 50. 

ADDISON'S COMPLETE WORKS. The Works of Joseph Ad- 
disou, embracing the whole of the " Spectator." Complete 
in 3 vols., Svo, Cloth, $6 00. 



ister Plenipotentiary in Japan. With Maps and Engravings. 
2 vols., 12mo, Cloth, $3 50. 

ALISON'S HISTORY OF EUROPE. FIRST SERIES: From the 
Commencement of the French Revolution, in 17S9, to the Res 
toration of the Bourbons, in 1S15. [In addition to the Notes 
on Chapter LXXVI., which correct the errors of the original 
work concerning the United States, a copious Analytical Index 
has been appended to this American edition.] SECOND SE 
RIES : From the Fall of Napoleon, in 1815, to the Accession of 
Louis Napoleon, in 1S52. 8 vols., Svo, Cloth, $10 00. 

ANTHON'S SMITH'S DICTIONARY OF ANTIQUITIES. A 
Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities. Edited by WIL 
LIAM SMITH, LL.D., and Illustrated by numerous Engravings 
on Wood. Third American Edition, carefully Revised, and 
containing, also, numerous additional Articles relative to the 
Botany, Mineralogy, and Zoology of the Ancients. By 
CIIARLES ANTHON, LL.D. Royal Svo, Sheep extra, $6 00. 

ANTHON'S CLASSICAL DICTIONARY. Containing an Ac 
count of the principal Proper Names mentioned in Ancient 
Authors, and intended to elucidate all the important Points 
connected with the Geography, History, Biography, Mythol 
ogy, and Fine Arts of the Greeks and Romans: together with 
an Account of the Coins, Weights, and Measures of the An 
cients, with Tabular Values of the same. Royal Svo, Sheep 
extra, $6 00. 



ALFORD'S GREEK TESTAMENT. The Greek Testament: 
with a critically revised Text ; a Digest of Various Readings ; 
Marginal References to Verbal ana Idiomatic Usage ; Pro 
legomena ; and a Critical and Exegetical Commentary. For 
the Use of Theological Students and Ministers. By HENRY 
ALFORD, D.D., Dean of Canterbury. Vol. I., containing the 
Four Gospels. 944 pages, Svo, Cloth, $6 00 ; Sheep, $6 50. 

BALDWIN'S PRE- HISTORIC NATIONS. Pre- Historic Na 
tions ; or, Inquiries concerning some of the Great Peoples and 
Civilizations of Antiquity, and their Probable Relation to a 
still Older Civilization of the Ethiopians or Cushites of Arabia. 
By JOHN D. BALDWIN, Member of the American Oriental So 
ciety. 12mo, Cloth, $1 75. 

BALDWIN'S ANCIENT AMERICA. Ancient America, in Notes 
on American Archaeology. By JOHN D. BALDWIN, A.M. With 
Illustrations. 12mo, Cloth, $2 00. 

BARNES'S NOTES. 

Notes on the New Testament. New Edition. Revised by 
the Author. Now ready: Gospels, 2 vols. Acts. Romans. 
First Corinthians. Second Corinthians. Other volumes will 
follow. 12mo, Cloth, $1 50 per vol. 
Notes on the Psalms. 3 vols. 12mo, Cloth, $1 50 per vol. 

EARTH'S NORTH AND CENTRAL AFRICA. Travels and 
Discoveries in North and Central Africa: being a Journal of 
an Expedition undertaken under the Auspices of H.B.M.'s 
Government, in the Years 1849-1855. By HENRY BABTH, Ph.D., 
D.C.L. Illustrated. 3 vols., Svo, Cloth, $12 00. 

HENRY WARD BEECHER'S SERMONS. Sermons by HENRY 
WARD BEBOIIKR, Plymouth Church, Brooklyn. Selected from 
Published and Unpublished Discourses, and Revised by their 
Author. With Steel Portrait. Complete in 2 vols., Svo, 
Cloth, $5 00. 

LYMAN BEECHER'S AUTOBIOGRAPHY, &c. Autobiography, 
Correspondence, &c., of Lyman Beecher, D.D. Edited by his 
Son, CHARLES BKEOIIKB. With Three Steel Portraits and En 
gravings on Wood. 2 vols., 12mo, Cloth, $5 00. 

BELLOWS'S OLD WORLD. The Old World in its New Face : 
Impressions of Europe in 1S67-6S. By HENRY W. BELLOWS. 
2 vols., 12mo, Cloth, $3 50. 

BRODHEAD'S HISTORY OF NEW YORK. History of the 
State of New York. By JOHN ROMEYN BRODHEAD. 1609-lG'Jl. 
Two Vols. Svo, Cloth, $3 00 per vol. 

BROUGHAM'S AUTOBIOGRAPHY. Life and Times of HENRY, 
LORD BROUGHAM. Written by Himself. In Three Volumes. 
12mo, Cloth, $2 00 per vol. 

BULWER'S ESSAYS. Miscellaneous Prose Works of Edward 
Bnlwer, Lord Lytton, including " Caxtouiana." 3 vols., 12mo, 
Cloth. $5 25. 

BULWER'S HORACE. The Odes and Epodes of Hornce. A 
Metrical Translation into English. With Introduction and 
Commentaries. By LORD LYTTON. With Latin Text from the 
Editions of Orelli, Macleane, and Yonge. 12mo, Cloth, $1 75. 

BULWER'S KING ARTHUR. A Poem. By EARL LTTTON. 
New Edition. 12mo, Cloth, $1 75. 

BURNS'S LIFE AND WORKS. The Life and Works of Robert 
Burns. Edited by ROBERT CHAMBERS. 4 vols., 12mo, Cloth, 
$600. 

REINDEER, DOGS, AND SNOW-SHOES. A Journal of Sibe 
rian Travel and Explorations made in the Years 18G5-67. By 
RICHARD J. Busu, late of the Russo- American Telegraph Ex 
pedition. Illustrated. Crown Svo, Cloth, $3 00. 



Harper 6* Brothers' Valuable Standard Works. 



BOSWELL'S JOHNSON. The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. 
Including a Journey to the Hebrides. By JAMES BOB WELL, 
Esq. A New Edition, with numerous Additions and Notes. 
By JOHN WILSON CROKEB, LL.D., F.R.S. Portrait of Boswell. 
2 vols., 8vo, Cloth, $4 00. 

CARLYLE'S FREDERICK THE GREAT. History of Fried- 
rich II., called Frederick the Great. By THOMAS CARI.YI.E. 
Portraits, Maps, Plans, &c. C vols., 12mo, Cloth, $12 00. 

CARLYLE'S FRENCH REVOLUTION. History of the French 
Revolution. Newly Revised by the Author, with Index, &c. 
2 vols., 12mo, Cloth, $3 50. 

CARLYLE'S OLIVER CROMWELL. Letters and Speeches of 
Oliver Cromwell. With Elucidations and Connecting Narra 
tive. 2 vols., 12mo, Cloth, $3 50. 

CHALMERS'S POSTHUMOUS WORKS. The Posthumous 
Works of Dr. Chalmers. Edited by his Son-in-Law, Rev. 
WII.T.IAM HANNA, LL.D. Complete "in 9 vols., 12mo, Cloth, 
$1360. 

COCKER'S CHRISTIANITY AND GREEK PHILOSOPHY. 
Christianity and Greek Philosophy; or, the Relation between 
Spontaneous and Reflective Thought in Greece and the Posi 
tive Teaching of Christ and his Apostles. By B. F. COCKER, 
D.D., Professor of Moral and Mental Philosophy in Michigan 
University. Crown Svo, Cloth, $2 75. 

COLERIDGE'S COMPLETE WORKS. The Complete Works of 
Samuel Taylor Coleridge. With an Introductory Essay upon 
his Philosophical and Theological Opinions. Edited by Pro 
fessor SHEDP. Complete in Seven Vols. With a fine Portrait. 
Small Svo, Cloth, $10 50. 

CURTIS'S HISTORY OF THE CONSTITUTION. History of 
the Origin, Formation, and Adoption of the Constitution of 
the United States. By GEOEGE TIOKNOK CURTIS. 2 vols., Svo, 
Cloth, $6 00. 

DRAPER'S CIVIL WAR. History of the American Civil War. 
By JOHN W. DRAPER, M.D., LL.D., Professor of Chemistry and 
Physiology in the University of New York. In Three Vols. 
Svo, Cloth, $3 50 per vol. 

DRAPER'S INTELLECTUAL DEVELOPMENT OF EUROPE. 
A History of the Intellectual Development of Europe. By 
JOHN W. DRAPER, M.D., LL.D., Professor of Chemistry and 
Physiology in the University of New York. Svo, Cloth, $5 00. 

DRAPER'S AMERICAN CIVIL POLICY. Thoughts on the 
Future Civil Policy of America. By JOHN W. DRAPER, M.D., 
LL.D., Professor of Chemistry and Physiology in the Uni 
versity of New York. Crown Svo, Cloth. $2 50. 

DAVIS'S CARTHAGE. Carthage and her Remains: being an 
Account of the Excavations and Researches on the Site of the 
Phoenician Metropolis in Africa and other adjacent Places. 
Conducted under the Auspices of Her Majesty's Government. 
By N. DAVIS, F.R.G.S. Profusely Illustrated with Maps, 
Woodcuts, Chromo-Lithographs, &c. Svo, Cloth, $4 00. 

DOOLITTLE'S CHINA. Social Life of the Chinese : with some 
Account of their Religious, Governmental, Educational, and 
Business Customs and Opinions. With special but not ex 
clusive Reference to Fuhchau. By Rev. JUSTUS DOOLITTLE, 
Fourteen Years Member of the Fuhchau Mission of the Amer 
ican Board. Illustrated with more than 150 characteristic 
Engravings on Wood. 2 vols., 12mo, Cloth, $5 00. 

DU CIIAILLU'S AFRICA. Explorations and Adventures in 
Equatorial Africa ; with Accounts of the Manners and Cus 
toms of the People, and of the Chase of the Gorilla, the Croc 
odile, Leopard. Elephant, Hippopotamus, and other Animals, 
By PAUL B. Du CHAII.LU. Numerous Illustrations. Svo 
Cloth, $5 00. 

DU CHAILLU'S ASHANGO LAND. A Journey to Aehango 
Land, and Further Penetration into Equatorial Africa. By 
PAUL B. DUCHAILLU. New Edition. Handsomely Illustrated 
Svo, Cloth, $5 00. 

DWIGHT'S (REV. DR.) THEOLOGY. Theology Explained and 
Defended, in a Series of Sermons. By TIMOTHY DWIOIIT 
S.T.D., LL.D. With a Memoir and Portrait 4 vols., Svo 
Cloth, $S 00. 

ELIOT'S (GEORGE) NOVELS. Illustrated. 12mo, Cloth, 7, 
cents each. 

ADAM BEDE. THE MILL ON THE FLOSS. FELIX HOLT, TH 
RATIIOAL. ROMOLA. SCENES OP CLERICAL LIFE an 
SILAS MAKNEK. 

EDGEWORTH'S (Miss) NOVELS. With Engravings. 10 vols. 
12mo, Cloth, $15 00. 

ENGLISHMAN'S GREEK CONCORDANCE. The Englishman' 
Greek Concordance of the New Testament : being an Attemp 
at a Verbal Connection between the Greek and the Englis' 
Texts ; including a Concordance to the Proper Names, wit 
Indexes, Greek-English and English-Greek. Svo, Cloth, $5 00 



OWLER'S ENGLISH LANGUAGE. The English Language in 
its Elements and Forms. With a History of ifs Origin and 
Development, and a full Grammar. Designed for Use in Col 
leges and High-Schools. Revised and Enlarged. By WM. C. 
FOWLER, LL.D., late Professor in Amherst College. Svo, 
Cloth, $2 50. 

lESELER'S ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY. A Text-Book of 
Church History. By Dr. JOHN C. L. GIESEI.ER. Translated 
from the Fourth Revised German Edition by SAMUEL DAVID- 
SON, LL.D., and Rev. JOHN WINSTANI.EY HULL. M.A. A New 
American Edition, Revised and Edited by Rev. HKNRY B. 
SMITH, D.D., Professor in the Union Theological Seminary, 
New York. Four Volumes ready. (Vol. V.in Press.) Svo, 
Cloth, $2 25 per vol. 

GIBBON'S ROME. History of the Decline and Fall of the Ro 
man Empire. By EDWARD GIUHON. With Notes by Rev. H. 
H. MILMAN and M. GUIZOT. A new Cheap Edition. "To which 
is added a complete Index of the whole Work, and a Portrait 
of the Author. 6 vols., 12mo, Cloth, $9 00. 

NOTE'S HISTORY OF GREECE. 12 vols., 12mo, Cloth, $18 00. 

KALE'S (MRS.) WOMAN'S RECORD. Woman's Record; or, 
Biographical Sketches of all Distinguished Women, from the 
Creation to the Present Time. Arranged in Four Eras, with 
Selections from Female Writers of each Era. By Mrs. SAP.AH 
JOSKPHA HALE. Illustrated with more than 200 Portraits. 
Svo, Cloth, $5 00. 

HALL'S ARCTIC RESEARCHES. Arctic Researches and Life 
among the Esquimaux : being the Narrative of an Expedition 
in Search of Sir John Franklin, in the Years I860. 1S61, and 
1862. By CHARLES FRANCIS HALT. With Maps and 100 Illus 
trations. The Illustrations are from Original Drawings by 
Charles Parsons, Henry L. Stephens, Solomon Eytinge, W. S. 
L. Jewett, and Granville Perkins, after Sketches by Captain 
Hall. Svo, Cloth, $5 00. 

HALLAM'S CONSTITUTIONAL HISTORY OF ENGLAND, 
from the Accession of Henry VII. to the Death of George II. 
Svo, Cloth, $2 00. 

HALLAM'S LITERATURE. Introduction to the Literature of 
Europe during the Fifteenth, Sixteenth, and Seventeenth 
Centuries. By HENRY HALLAM. 2 vols., Svo, Cloth, $4 00. 

HALLAM'S MIDDLE AGES. State of Europe during the Mid 
dle Ages. By HKNEY HALLAM. Svo, Cloth, $2 00. 

HALL'S (ROBERT) WORKS. The Complete Works of Robert 
Hall ; with a brief Memoir of his Life by Dr. GREGORY, and 
Observations on his Character as a Preacher by Rev. JOHN 
FOSTER. Edited by OLINTHUS GREGORY. LL.D., and "Rev. JOSEPH 
BELCHER. Portrait. 4 vols., Svo, Cloth, $S 00. 

HAMILTON'S (Sin WILLIAM) WORKS. Discussions on Phi 
losophy and Literature, Education and University Reform. 
Chiefly from the Edinlmrcjh Review. Corrected, Vindicated, 
and Enlarged, in Notes and Appendices. By Sir WILLIAM 
HAMILTON, Bart. With an Introductory Essay by Rev. ROUEET 
TUENUULL, D.D. Svo, Cloth, $3 00. 

HAYDN'S DICTIONARY OF DATES, relating to all Ages and 
Nations. For Universal Reference. Edited by BENJAMIN 
VINCENT, Assistant Secretary and Keeper of the Library of the 
Royal Institution of Great "Britain ; and Revised for the Use 
of American Readers. Svo, Cloth, $5 00 ; Sheep, $6 00. 

HILDRETH'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES. FIRST 
SERIES: From the First Settlement of the Country to the 
Adoption of the Federal Constitution. SECOND SERIES: From 
the Adoption of the Federal Constitution to the End of the 
Sixteenth Congress. 6 vols., Svo, Cloth, $18 00. 

HUMBOLDT'S COSMOS. Cosmos: a Sketch of a Physical De 
scription of the Universe. By ALEXANDER VON HDMHOI.PT. 
Translated from the German by E. C. OTTE. 5 vols., 12mo, 
Cloth, $6 25. 

HUME'S HISTORY OF ENGLAND. History of England, from 
the Invasion of Julius Caesar to the Abdication of James II., 
16S8. By DAVID HUME. A new Edition, with the Author's 
last Corrections and Improvements. To which is prefixed a. 
short Account of his Life, written by Himself. With a Por 
trait of the Author. 6 vols., 12mo, Cloth, $9 00. 

HELPS'S SPANISH CONQUEST. The Spanish Conquest in 
America, and its Relation to the History of Slavery and to the 
Government of Colonies. By ARTHUR HELPS. 4 vols., 12mo, 
Cloth, $6 00. 

JAY'S WORKS. Complete Works of Rev. William Jay : com 
prising his Sermons, Family Discourses, Morning and Even 
ing Exercises for every Day" in the Year, Family Prayers, &c. 
Author's Enlarged Edition, revised. 3 vols., Svo, Cloth, $6 00. 

JEFFERSON'S DOMESTIC LIFE. The Domestic Life of Thom 
as Jefferson : compiled from Family Letters and Reminiscen 
ces by his Great-Granddaughter, SAUAII N. RANDOLPH. With 
Illustrations. Crown Svo, Illuminated Cloth, Beveled Edges, 
$250. 



Harper &> Brothers' Valuable Standard Works. 



HARPER'S NEW CLASSICAL LIBRARY. Literal Transla 
tions. 

The following Volumes are now ready. Portraits. 12mo, 
Cloth, $1 50 each. 

CAESAR. VlRGIl S AT.LHST. HORACE. ClOERO's ORA 
TIONS. CICERO'S OFFICES, <fcc. CICERO ON ORATORY 
AND OHATORS. TACITUS (2 vols.). TERESCF,. SOPHO 
CLES. JUVENAL. XKNOPHON. HOMER'S ILIAD. 
HOMER'S OD YSSKY. HF.BODOTUB. DEMOSTHENES. 
THUOYDIDES. .(EsoHYLUS. EURIPIDES (2 vols.). LIVY 
(2 vols.). 

JOHNSON'S COMPLETE WORKS. The Works of Samuel John 
son, LL.D. With an Essay on his Life and Genius, by AR 
THUR MURPHY, Esq. Portrait of Johusou. 2 vols., Svo, Cloth, 
$400. 

KINGLAKE'S CRIMEAN WAR. The Invasion of the Crimea, 
and an Account of its Progress down to the Death of Lord 
Ra"lan. By ALEXANDER WII.I.IAM KINGLAKE. With Maps 
and Plans. Two Vols. ready. 12mo, Cloth, $2 00 per vol. 

KINGSLEY'S WEST INDIES. At Last: a Christmas in the 
West Indies. By CHARLES KINQSLEY. Illustrated. 12mo, 
Cloth, $1 50. 

KRUMMACHER'S DAVID, KING OF ISRAEL. David, the King 
of Israel : a Portrait drawn from Bible History and the Book 
of Psalms. By FBEDF.UICK WILLIAM KRCMMACHER, D.D., Au 
thor of "Elijah the Tishbite," &c. Translated under the 
express Sanction of the Author by the Rev. M. G. EASTON, 
M.A. With a Letter from Dr. Krummacher to his American 
Reader?, and a Portrait 12mo, Cloth, $1 75. 

LAMB'S COMPLETE WORKS. The Works of Charles Lamb. 
Comprising his Letters, Poems, Essays of Elia, Essays upon 
Shnkspeare, Hogarth, &c., and a Sketch of his Life, with the 
Final Memorials, by T. NOON TALFOUBD. Portrait. 2 vols., 
12mo, Cloth, $3 00. 

LIVINGSTONE'S SOUTH AFRICA. Missionary Travels and Re 
searches in South Africa; including a Sketch of Sixteen Years' 
Residence in the Interior of Africa, and a Journey from the 
Cape of Good Hope to Loando on the West Coast; thence 
across the Continent, down the River Zambesi, to the Eastern 
Ocean. By DAVID LIVINGSTONE, LL.D., D.C.L. With Portrait, 
Maps by Arrowsmith, and numerous Illustrations. Svo, 
Cloth, $4 50. 

LIVINGSTONE'S ZAMBESI. Narrative of an Expedition to the 
Zambesi and its Tributaries, and of the Discovery of the Lakes 
Shirwa and Nyassa, 1S53-1SG4. By DAVITI and CHARLES LIV 
INGSTONE. With Map and Illustrations. Svo, Cloth, $5 00. 

LOSSING'S FIELD-BOOK OF THE REVOLUTION. Pictorial 
Fie*ld-Book of the Revolution ; or, Illustrations, by Pen and 
Pencil, of the History, Biography, Scenery, Relics, and Tradi 
tions of the War for Independence. By BENSON J. LOSSING. 
2 vols., Svo, Cloth, $14 00 ; Sheep, $15 00 ; Half Calf, $18 00 ; 
Full Turkey Morocco, $22 00. 

LOSSING'S FIELD-BOOK OF THE WAR OF 1812. Pictorial 
Field-Book of the War of 1812 ; or, Illustrations, by Pen and 
Pencil, of the History, Biography, Scenery, Relics, and Tra 
ditions of the Last War for American Independence. By 
BENSON J. LOSSING. With several hundred Engravings on 
Wood, by Lossing and Barritt, chiefly from Original Sketches 
by the Author. 1088 pages, Svo, Cloth, $7 00 ; Sheep, $S 50 
Roan, $9 00 ; Half Calf, $10 00. 

MARCY'S ARMY LIFE ON THE BORDER. Thirty Years of 
Army Life on the Border. Comprising Descriptions of the 
Indian Nomads of the Plains ; Explorations of New Territory; 
a Trip across the Rocky Mountains in the Winter ; Descrip 
tions of the Habits of Different Animals found in the West, 
and the Methods of Hunting them; with Incidents in the Life 
of different Frontier Men, &c., &c. By Brevet Britradier- 
General R. B. MAJICY, U.S.A., Author of " The Prairie Travel 
er," "Border Reminiscences," &c. With numerous Illustra 
tions. Svo, Cloth, Beveled Edges, $3 00. 

MACGREGOR'S ROB ROY ON THE JORDAN. The Rob Roy 
on the Jordan, Nile, Red Sea, and Gennesareth, &c. A Canoe 
Cruise in Palestine and Egypt, and the Waters of Damascus. 
By J. MACGBEGOR, M.A. W'ith Maps and Illustrations. Crown 
Svo, Cloth, $2 50. 

M'CLINTOCK & STRONG'S CYCLOPAEDIA. Cyclopedia of 
Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature. Prepared 
by the Rev. JOHN M'CLINTOCK, D.D., and JAMES STRONG, 
S.T.D. 4 vols. now ready. Royal Svo. Price per vol., Cloth, 
$500; Sheep, $600; Half Morocco, $S 00. 

MITFORD'S (Miss) LIFE AND LETTERS. The Life of Mary 
Russell Mitford, Authoress of " Our Village, &c." Told by 
Herself in Letters to Her Friends. With Anecdotes and 
Sketches of her most celebrated Contemporaries. Edited by 
the Rev. A. G. K. L'ESTRANOK. 2 vols., 12mo, Cloth, $3 50. 



MOTLEY'S DUTCH REPUBLIC. The Rise of the Dutch Re 
public. By JOHN LOTHROP MOTLEY, LL.D., D.C.L. With a 
Portrait of William of Orange. 3 vols., Svo, Cloth, $10 50. 

MOTLEY'S UNITED NETHERLANDS. History of the United 
Netherlands : from the Death of William the Silent to the 
Twelve Years' Truce 1609. With a full View of the English- 
Dutch Struggle against Spain, and of the Origin and Destruc 
tion of the Spanish Armada. By JOHN LOTUROP MOTLEY, 
LL.D., D.C.L. Portraits. 4 vols., Svo, Cloth, $14 00. 

MACAULAY'S HISTORY OF ENGLAND. The History of En 
gland from the Accession of James II. By THOMAS BAKINGTON 
MACAULAY. With an Original Portrait of the Author. 5 vols., 
8vo, Cloth, $10 00 ; 12mo, Cloth, $7 50. 

MAURY'S (M. F.) PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY OF THE SEA. 
The Physical Geography of the Sea, and its Meteorology. By 
M. F. MAURY, LL.D., late U.S.N. The Eighth Edition, Re 
vised and greatly Enlarged. Svo, Cloth, $4 00. 

MOSHEIM'S ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY. Ancient and Mod 
ern ; in which the Rise, Progress, and Variation of Church 
Power are considered in their Connection with the State of 
Learning and Philosophy, and the Political History of Europe 
during that Period. Translated, with Notes, <fec., by A. MAC- 
J.AINE, D.D. A New Edition, continued to 1S26, by C. COOTE, 
LL.D. 2 vols., Svo, Cloth, $4 00. 

MULOCK'S (Miss) WORKS. Library Edition of Works by the 
Author of " John Halifax, Gentleman." 12mo, Cloth, $1 50 
per vol. 

HANNAH. OLIVE. OGII.VIES. THE HEAD OF THE FAMILY. 
JOHN HALIFAX. AGATHA'S HUSBAND. A LIFE FOR A 
LIFE. Two MARRIAGES. CHRISTIAN'S MISTAKE. A 
NOBLE LIFE. A HERO. STUDIKS FROM LIFE. THE 
FAIRY BOOK. MISTRESS AND MAID. A BRAVE LADY.. 
WOMAN'S KINGDOM. 

NAPOLEON'S LIFE OF CAESAR. The History of Julius Casar. 
By His Imperial Majesty NAPOLEON III. 'Two Volumes ready. 
Library Edition, Svo, Cloth, $3 50 per vol. 

NEVIUS'S CHINA. China and the Chinese : a General Descrip 
tion of the Country and its Inhabitants ; its Civilization and 
Form of Government; its Religious and Social Institutions: 
its Intercourse with other Nations; and its Present Condition 
and Prospects. By the Rev. JOHN L. NEVIUS, Ten Years a 
Missionary in China. With a Map and Illustrations. 12mo, 
Cloth, $1 75. 

OLIN'S (DR.) LIFE AND LETTERS. 2 vols., 12mo, Cloth, $3 00. 

OLIN'S (DR.) TRAVELS. Travels in Egypt, Arabia Petraea, and 
the Holy Land. Engravings. 2 vols., Svo, Cloth, $3 00. 

OLIN'S (Dis.) WORKS. The Works of Stephen Olin, D.D., late 
President of the Wesleyau University. 2 vols., 12mo, Cloth, 
$300. 

OLIPHANT'S CHINA AND JAPAN. Narrative of the Earl of 
Elgin's Mission to China and Japan, in the Years 1857, '53, '59. 
By LAURENCE OLIPHANT, Private Secretary to Lord Elgin. 
Illustrations. Svo, Cloth, $3 50. 

OLIPHANT'S (MRS.) LIFE OF EDWARD IRVING. The Life 
of Edward Irving, Minister of the National Scotch Church, 
London. Illustrated by his Journals and Correspondence. 
By Mrs. OI.IPHANT. Portrait. Svo, Cloth, $3 50. 

ORTON'S ANDES AND THE AMAZON. The Andes and the 
Amazon ; or, Across the Continent of South America. By 
JAMES ORTON, M.A., Professor of Natural History in Vassa'r 
College, Ponghkeepsie, N. Y., and Corresponding Member of 
the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia. With a New 
Map of Equatorial America and numerous Illustrations. 
Crown Svo, Cloth, $2 00. 

PAGE'S LA PLATA. La Plata, the Argentine Confederation, 
and Paraguay. Being a Narrative of the Exploration of the 
Tributaries of the River La Plata and Adjacent. Countries, 
during the Years 1853, '54, '55, and '56, under the Orders of 
the United States Government. New Edition, containing 
Further Explorations in La Plata during 1859 and '60. By 
THOMAS J. PAGE, U.S.N., Commander of the Expeditions. 
With Map and numerous Engravings. Svo, Cloth, $5 00. 

POETS OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY. The Poets of the 
Nineteenth Century. Selected and Edited by the Rev. ROBERT 
AKIS WILLMOTT. With English and American Additions, ar 
ranged by EVERT A. DUYOKINCK, Editor of "Cyclopsedia of 
American Literature." Comprising Selections from the Great 
est Authors of the Age. Superbly Illustrated with 141 En 
gravings from Designs by the most Eminent Artists. New 
and Enlarged Edition. In elegant Square Svo form, printed 
on Superfine Tinted Paper, richly bound in extra Cloth, Bev 
eled, Gilt Edges, $5 00; Half Cal-f, $550; Full Turkey Morocco, 
$900. 



Harper 6* Brothers' Valuable Standard Works. 



PALNE'S PHYSIOLOGY OP THE SOUL AND INSTINCT. 
Physiology of the Soul and Instinct, as distinguished from 
Materialism. ^Vith Supplementary Demonstrations of the 
Divine Communication of the Narratives of Creation and the 
Flood. By MAETYN PAINE, A.M., M.D., LL.l)., Author of 
"The Institutes of Medicine," &c. 8vo, Cloth, $5 00. 

PRIME'S AROUND THE WORLD. Around the World: Sketches 
of Travel through many Lauds and over many Seas. By E. 
D. G. PRIME, D.D. With numerous Illustrations. Crown 
Svo, Cloth, $3 00. 

RAWLINSON'S MANUAL OF ANCIENT HISTORY. A Man 
ual of Ancient History, from the Earliest Times to the Fall of 
the Western Empire. Comprising the History of Chaldaea, 
Assyria, Media, Babylonia, Lydia, Phoenicia, "Syria, Judsea, 
Egypt, Carthage, Persia, Greece, Macedonia, Parthia, and 
Rome. By GEORGE RAWLINBON, M.A., Camdeu Professor of 
Ancient History in the University of Oxford. 12mo, Cloth, 
$250. 

READE'S (CHARLES) NOVELS. In Sets, 3 vols., Svo, Morocco 
Cloth, $7 00. 

HARD CASII. Illustrations. GUIFPITII GAUNT. Illustra 
tions. IT is NEVER Too LATE TO MEND. LOVE ME 
LITTLE, LOVE ME LONG. Four. PLAY. WHITE LIES 
PEG WOFFINGTON, and Other Tales. PUT YOURSELF 
IN His PLACE. Illustrations. A TEKRIBLE TEMPTA 
TION. Illustrations. THE CLOISTER AND TUF. HKARTU. 

RECLUS'S THE EARTH. The Earth : a Descriptive History of 
the Phenomena of the Life of the Globe. By ELIBEE REC'LUS. 
Translated by the late B. B. Woodward, and Edited by Henry 
Woodward. With 234 Maps and Illustrations, and 23 Page 
Maps printed in Colors. Second American Edition, with co 
pious Index. Svo, Cloth, $5 00. 

ROBERTSON'S LIFE AND WORKS. 

Life, Letters, Lectures on Corinthians, and Addresses of the 
late Frederick W. Robertson, M.A., Incumbent of Trinity 
Chapel, Brighton, 1S47-1S53. With Portrait on Steel. Large 
12mo, 840 pages, Cloth, $1 50 ; Half Calf, $3 25. 
Sermons Preached at Brighton by the late Rev. Frederick W. 
Robertson, the Incumbent of Trinity Chapel. With Portrait 
on Steel. Large 12mo, 83S pages, Cloth, $1 50 ; Half Calf, $3 25. 

ROBINSON'S GREEK LEXICON OF THE TESTAMENT. A 
Greek and English Lexicon of the New Testament. By ED 
WARD ROBINSON, D.D., LL.D., late Professor of Biblical Liter 
ature in the Union Theological Seminary, New York. Royal 
Svo, Cloth, $6 00. 

SCOTT'S FISHING IN AMERICAN WATERS. Fishing in 
American Waters. By GENIO C. SCOTT. With 170 Illustra 
tions. Crown Svo, Cloth, $3 50. 

SEDGWICK'S (Miss) LIFE AND LETTERS. The Life and Let 
ters of Catharine M. Sedgwick. Edited by MAP.Y E. DEWEY. 
With Frontispiece and Portrait. 12mo, Cloth, $2 00. 

SMILES'S SELF-HELP. Self-Help, with Illustrations of Char 
acter, Conduct, and Perseverance. New Edition. By SAMUEL 
SMILES. 12mo, Cloth, $1 00. 

SMILES'S CHARACTER. Character. By SAMUEL SMILES. 12mo, 
Cloth, $1 50. 

SMILES'S LIFE OF THE STEPHENSONS. The Life of George 
Stephenson, and of his Son, Robert Stephensou; comprising, 
also, a History of the Invention and Introduction of the Rail 
way Locomotive. By SAMUEL SMILES. With Steel Portraits 
and numerous Illustrations. Svo, Cloth, $3 00. 

SMILES'S HISTORY OF THE HUGUENOTS. The Huguenots: 
their Settlements, Churches, and Industries in England and 
Ireland. By SAMUET, SMILES. With an Appendix relating to 
the Huguenots in America. Crown Svo, Cloth, $1 75. 

SHAKSPEARE. The Dramatic Works of William Shakspeare, 
with the Corrections and Illustrations of Dr. JOHNSON, G. 
STEEVENS, and others. Revised by ISAAC REED. Engravings. 
C vols., Royal 12mo, Cloth, $9 00. 

SPEKE'S AFRICA. Journal of the Discovery of the Source of 
the Nile. By Captain JOHN BANNING SPEKE, Captain H. M.'s 
Indian Army, Fellow and Gold Medalist of the Royal Geo 
graphical Society, Hon. Corresponding Member and Gold 
Medalist of the French Geographical Society, &c. With Maps 
and Portraits and numerous Illustrations, chiefly from Draw 
ings by Captain Grant. Svo, Cloth, uniform with Livingstone, 
Earth, Burton, &c., $4 00. 

SPRING'S SERMONS. Pulpit Ministrations ; or, Sabbath Read 
ings. A Series of Discourses on Christian Doctrine and Duty. 
By Rev. GARDINER SPRING, D.D., Pastor of the Brick Presby 
terian Church in the City of New York. Portrait on Stee'l. 
2 vols., Svo, Cloth, $6 00. 

STRICKLAND'S (Miss) QUEENS OF SCOTLAND. Lives of 
the Queens of Scotland and English Princesses connected 
with the Regal Succession of Great Britain. By AGNKB 
STRICKLAND. 8 vols., 12mo, Cloth, $12 00. 



SHERWOOD'S (Mus.) WORKS. Engravings. 16 vols. 12mo, 
Cloth, $1 50 per vol. 

TENNYSON'S COMPLETE POEMS. The Complete Poems of 
Alfred Tennyson, Poet Laureate. With numerous Illustra 
tions by Eminent Artists, and Three Characteristic Portraits. 
Svo, Paper, 75 cents ; Cloth, $1 25. 

TICKNOR'S HISTORY OF SPANISH LITERATURE. With 
Criticisms on the particular Works, and Biographical Notices 
of Prominent Writers. 3 vols., Svo, Cloth, $5 00. 

THACKERAY'S (W. M.) NOVELS. With Author's Illustrations. 
In Sets, 3 vols., Svo, Morocco Cloth, $6 50. 

VANITY FAIR. 32 Illustrations. PENDENNIS. 179 Illus 
trations. THE VIRGINIANS. 150 Illustrations. TIIK 
NKWOOMEB. 162 Illustrations. THE ADVENTURES or 
PHILIP. 65 Illustrations. HENRY ESMOND and LOVEL 
THE WIDOWER. 12 Illustrations. 
Lectures, comprising the English Humorists and Four Georaes. 

12mo, Cloth, $1 25. 

Roundabout Papers. Engravings. 12mo, Cloth. $1 50. 
Vanity Fair. Library Edition. Portrait and Woodcuts. 3 
vols., Post Svo, Cloth, $7 50. 

THE STUDENT'S SERIES. 

France. Engravings. 12mo, Cloth, $2 00. 

Gibbon. Engravings. 12mo, Cloth, $2 00. 

Greece. Engravings. 12mo, Cloth, $2 00. 

Hume. Engravings. 12mo, Cloth, $2 00. 

Rome. ByLiddell. Engravings. 12mo, Cloth, $2 00. 

Old Testament History. Engravings. I2mo, Cloth, $-2 00. 

New Testament History. Engravings. 12mo, Cloth, $2 00. 

Strickland's Queens of England. Abridged. Engravings. 

12mo, Cloth, $2 00. 

Ancient History of the East. Engravings. 12mo, Cloth, $2 00. 
Hallam's Middle Ages. 12mo, Cloth, $2 00. 
Lyell's Elements of Geology. Engravings. 12mo, Cloth. $2 00. 

THOMSON'S LAND AND THE BOOK. The Land and the 
Book ; or, Biblical Illustrations drawn from the Manners and 
Customs, the Scenes and the Scenery of the Holy Land. By 
W. M. THOMSON, D.D., Twenty-five Years a Missionary of the 
A.B.C.F.M. in Syria and Palestine. With two elaborate Maps 
of Palestine, ail accurate Plan of Jerusalem, and several hun 
dred Engravings, representing the Scenery, Topography, and 
Productions of the Holy Land, and the Costumes, Manners, 
and Habits of the People. 2 large 12mo vols., Cloth, $5 00. 

TYERMAN'S WESLEY. The Life and Times of the Rev. John 
Wesley, M.A., Founder of the Methodists. By the Rev. LUKE 
TYERMAN, Author of "The Life of Rev. Samuel Wesley." Por 
traits. Three Vols. Crown Svo, Cloth, $2 50 per vol. 

VAMBERY'S CENTRAL ASIA. Travels in Central Asia. Bein 
the Account of a Journey from Teheran across the Turkoman 
Desert, on the Eastern Shore of the Caspian, to Khiva, 
Bokhara, and Samarcand, performed in the Year 1863. By 
ARMINIUS VAMUERY, Member of the Hungarian Academy of 
Pesth, by whom he was sent on this Scientific Mission. With 
Map and Woodcuts. Svo, Cloth, $4 50. 

WALLACE'S MALAY ARCHIPELAGO. The Malay Archipel 
ago: the Land of the Orang-Utan and the Bird of Paradise. 
A Narrative of Travel, 1854-1S62. With Studies of Man and 
Nature. By ALFRED RUSSEL WALLACE. With Ten Maps and 
Fifty-one Elegant Illustrations. Crown Svo, Cloth, $3 50. 

WHYMPER'S ALASKA. Travel and Adventure in the Territory 
of Alaska, formerly Russian America now Ceded to the 
United States and'in various other parts of the North Pacific. 
By FREDERICK WHYMPEE. With Map and Illustrations. Crown 
Svo, Cloth, $2 50. 

WHITE'S MASSACRE OF ST. BARTHOLOMEW. The Massa 
cre of St. Bartholomew: Preceded by a History of the Relig 
ious Wars in the Reign of Charles IX. By HENRY WHITE, 
M.A. With Illustrations. Svo, Cloth, $1 75. 

WINCHELL'S SKETCHES OF CREATION. Sketches of Crea 
tion: a Popular View of some of the Grand Conclusions_of 
the Sciences in reference to the History of Matter and of Life. 
Together with a Statement of the Intimations of Science re 
specting the Primordial Condition and the Ultimate Destiny 
of the Earth and the Solar System. By ALEXANDER WIN- 
CHELL, LL.D., Professor of Geology, Zoology, and Botany in 
the University of Michigan, and Director of the State Geo 
logical Survey. With Illustrations. 12mo, Cloth, $2 00. 

WOOD'S HOMES WITHOUT HANDS. Home? Without Hands : 
being a Description of the Habitations of Animals, classed ac 
cording to their Principle of Construction. By J. G. WOOD, 
M.A., F.L.S. With about 140 Illustrations. Svo, Cloth, Bev 
eled Edges, $4 50. 

WILKINSON'S ANCIENT EGYPTIANS. A Popular Account 
of their Manners and Customs, condensed from his larger 
Work, with some New Matter. Illustrated with 500 Woodcuts. 
2 vols., 12mo, Cloth, $3 50. 






tf 






I 

> B 

i